Two Israeli security guards were found shot to death at a factory in a small city east of the Mediterranean coastline city of Netanya Friday morning.
The community of Nitzanei Oz is also almost adjacent to the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Tulkarm, to where security forces speculate the murderer(s) escaped following the shooting.
Israel News photo: Flash 90
The two victims were identified as Shimon Mizrachi, 53, of Bat Hefer, and Eli Wasserman, 51, of Alfei Menashe.
Around 7 AM Friday morning, the local Magen David Adom emergency services dispatcher received a report of gunshot injuries in the northern area of the town's industrial zone, the area closest to Tulkarm. When its crew arrived on the scene, the paramedics discovered that the two victims were already dead.
Security forces immediately threw a dragnet around the area in an attempt to capture the murderer. IDF forces entered Tulkarm to search for the terrorists as well. Islamic Jihad later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sources said the terrorists planned a mass murder at the factory, located in the city’s Nitzanei Shalom [Buds of Peace] industrial zone. After murdering the two men, however - one of whose guns was found in his car, instead of on his person - the terrorist entered the building only to discover that he was alone, as all the workers were on vacation for the Passover holiday.
Yesha Council Castigates Government
The Yesha Council (Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria) stated, "It is no coincidence that the attack occurred just a day after Israel announces it willingness to pardon more terrorists... These concessions and gestures tell our enemies that terrorism pays off... Palestinian terrorism must be defeated, not negotiated with."
Security sources said it is believed the terrorists came from Tulkarm, which the Israeli government transferred to PA control within the framework of the Oslo Accords.
On August 1, 2002, Shani Ladni, a truck driver who frequented the same industrial zone, was murdered there by terrorists. The attack was enabled by the Defense Ministry's removal of a curfew around Tulkarm as a confidence-building gesture to the PA shortly beforehand.
The Nitzanei Shalom Industrial Park was one of nine industrial zones established in 1995 to help provide work for Arabs in Judea and Samaria. Currently there are seven factories in Nitzanei Shalom, which produce cartons, plastic parts, exterminator sprays and other items. Some 700 Arabs are employed in the complex.