Man Killed in West Bank Held American Citizenship

Man Killed in West Bank Held American Citizenship
Israeli soldiers search a car after a fatal shooting took place on a main highway near the Dead Sea and the West Bank Palestinian town of Jericho on Feb. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

A motorist killed in the latest of the violent incidents in West Bank held duel citizenship with America and Israel, according to Israeli authorities.

The slain man was identified by Israeli media as Israel Defense Forces veteran Elan Ganeles, 27, of West Hartford, Connecticut. His friend told local media that Ganeles was shot while traveling on a highway to the Dead Sea as he was visiting Israel for a wedding.

The attackers remained at large on Tuesday.

Ganales was the only fatality of the incident. The army said that the incident was part of a multi-site shooting that happened on Monday.

The attackers were inside a vehicle and fired at an Israeli vehicle near the West Bank city of Jericho, and Ganeles was hit. The attackers drove further and fired again. They then set their vehicle on fire and fled, triggering a manhunt.

Ganeles died later in a hospital. He was buried on Wednesday in the Israeli city of Raanana.

“The United States is extremely concerned by the events of this weekend and the continuing violence in Israel and the West Bank,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a press briefing Monday.

“As we noted yesterday, we condemn the horrific killing of two Israeli brothers near Nablus and the killing today of an Israeli near Jericho, who we understand was also an American citizen. We express our deepest condolences to all of the victims’ families and their loved ones.”

Ganeles’s killing came a day after two Israelis were killed by a Palestinian gunman in the northern West Bank, triggering a rampage in which Israeli settlers torched dozens of cars and homes in a Palestinian town and one Palestinian was killed. It was the worst such violence in decades.

So far this year, 62 Palestinians, about half of them affiliated with terrorist groups, have been killed by Israeli troops and civilians. In the same period, 14 Israelis, all but one of them civilians, have been killed in Palestinian attacks.

“We also condemn the widescale, indiscriminate violence by settlers against Palestinian civilians following the killing,” Price added. “The attacks reportedly led to the death of one Palestinian man, more than 300 residents injured—four seriously—and the torching of an estimated 30 Palestinian homes and cars. These actions are completely unacceptable. The United States extends its deepest condolences to those affected by this violence.”

Separately, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides confirmed on Twitter that a U.S. citizen was killed in what he called a “terror attack in the West Bank tonight.”

“I pray for his family,” Nides wrote.

The Israeli consulate in San Francisco also identified the victim as Ganeles on Twitter and said he was a recent graduate of Columbia University in New York.

The Jewish Federations of North America said it was devastated. “A recent college graduate, Elan had a bright future ahead of him. Our hearts go out to his family and to the West Hartford community and we cry together with them. May Elan’s memory be for a blessing,” it said in a statement.

David Waren, President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, said: “We extend our deepest condolences to the Ganeles family and affirm our solidarity with the people of Israel at this time of escalating violence. May Elan’s memory be a blessing for his family and our entire community.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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