Elan Ganeles, a 26-year-old US citizen originally from Connecticut, was murdered in Monday's terrorist shooting attack on Highway 90, between the Dead Sea and Jericho, it has been cleared for publication.
US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides revealed on Monday evening that the victim was an American citizen.
The Israeli Consulate in New York said in a statement, "We are shattered by the loss of Elan Ganeles, a US-Israeli citizen & IDF vet murdered today by Palestinian terrorists. Elan grew up in Connecticut & graduated last May from Columbia. He volunteered in his local community & sought to better the world. May his memory be a blessing."
A preliminary investigation in the field revealed that the terrorists opened fire on an Israeli vehicle on Highway 90. Ganeles was critically wounded and later died of his wounds at Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital in Jerusalem.
According to the investigation, the terrorists continued driving to the Beit HaArava intersection and shot at another Israeli vehicle. There were no casualties as a result of the second shooting. The terrorists continued driving and shot at vehicles a third time, without causing casualties.
A police force located the terrorists as they burned their vehicle and fired at them. The terrorists returned fire and fled. The IDF has set up checkpoints and security forces continue to search for the terrorists.
According to Arabic reports, security forces closed the entrances to Jericho as part of the pursuit of the terrorists.
One of the passengers in one of the vehicles which was shot at told Channel 12 News: "We were on a trip with tourist friends, we were traveling from Tiberias to return to Jerusalem. We turned at the intersection and 300 meters after the turn a car overtook us and we heard the sound of a gunshot. I saw a man come out of the window and shoot at us. It was a miracle [no one was hurt], he could have easily killed us.''
Police Commissioner Chief Superintendent Yaakov Shabtai spoke with M., a patrol officer at the Ma'ale Adumim station who. together with another police officer from the station, engaged the terrorists who carried out Monday's attack.
M. told the commissioner: "I arrived on duty and while I was getting ready we received a message about sounds of gunfire at Beit HaArava. We went out there right away and while doing so we realized that there were three arenas. At a certain point, we detected smoke, approached, and found a car on fire with yellow license plates which we realized was the terrorists' vehicle. One of the terrorists aimed a weapon at us and we immediately fired at the terrorists."
The Police Commissioner praised the policemen who strove contact and thus prevented the terrorists from continuing to shoot at other civilians and security forces in the area. The Commissioner noted that the policemen immediately understood that this was a multi-aspect and continuous attack and correctly identified the terrorists' escape route.
In accordance with the IDF's situational assessment, it was decided to reinforce the security forces in Judea and Samaria with a fourth battalion.
Monday's attack was the second deadly terrorist shooting attack in Judea and Samaria in as many days. On Sunday, a terrorist fired at an Israeli vehicle near the Arab village of Huwara in Samaria, murdering 22-year-old Hillel Menachem Yaniv and his brother, 20-year-old Yagel Yaakov Yaniv.
The Yaniv brothers were laid to rest at the Mount Herzl cemetery earlier today. Their funeral was attended by thousands of people from across the nation, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (Likud),Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist Party), National Missions Minister Orit Strock (Religious Zionist Party), Ofir Sofer (Religious Zionist Party), Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf (United Torah Judaism), Health Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas), and MKs Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionist Party), Amit Halevy (Likud), Tally Gotliv (Likud), and Matan Kahana (National Unity).
14 Israelis have been murdered in terrorist attacks so far this year.