Scene of attack near Eli
Scene of attack near EliFlash 90

The United States on Tuesday condemned the terrorist shooting attack near Eli, in which four Israelis were murdered.

“The United States condemns the terrorist attack against Israelis near Eli in the West Bank today. We express our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and wish the injured a speedy recovery,” said US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller in a statement.

He then added, “We are also concerned about the continuation of violence in Israel and the West Bank in recent weeks that has killed and injured Palestinian and Israeli civilians. We will continue to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to promote steps towards de-escalation.”

The statement from Miller followed a controversial statement from the US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, which drew comparisons between the attack near Eli and the fierce gun battle between Israeli security forces in Jenin on Monday.

"Deeply concerned about the civilian deaths and injuries that have occurred in the West Bank these past 48 hours, including that of minors. Praying for the families as they mourn the loss of loved ones, or tend to those injured," Ambassador Nides wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog joined the condemnation of Nides' initial comments, which equated the casualties of a battle in which Israeli soldiers were ambushed and terrorists were killed and injured to the indiscriminate attack on civilians at a gas station and restaurant.

"Today, yet another heinous Palestinian terror attack claimed the lives of 4 innocent Israeli civilians. There is no justification whatsoever for the targeting and killing of innocent civilians. It must be unequivocally condemned. Any attempt of a so-called ‘balanced’ condemnation is misguided and disrespectful to the memory of the victims," Ambassador Herzog said.

"In recent months, terror activities in the northern part of the West Bank have escalated as the Palestinian Authority has lost effective security control. Jenin, where the IDF recently operated, has become an Iranian terror stronghold, located just minutes away from Israeli population centers. Replete with hundreds of armed terrorists and laboratories working to produce lethal explosive devices and rockets, this ‘capital’ of terror has become the main springboard of terror attacks against Israelis,” he added.

"Israel will do whatever it takes to protect Israeli citizens and stop this wave of terror," the ambassador concluded.

Following the criticism, Nides issued a new tweet in which he wrote: "I condemn in the strongest terms the senseless murder of four innocent Israelis today — my heart is with their grieving family members."