At least three Israelis were killed and four others severely injured in a suspected terror attack carried out by two men in the Israeli city of Elad on Thursday.
Israeli police closed off roads and commenced a manhunt for the assailants, whom witnesses say fled in a vehicle and wielded a gun and a sharp object during the assault, according to the Times of Israel. The injuries did not appear to be from gunshot wounds but rather a sharp "implement," said the Magen David Adom emergency service.
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"The attack in Elad — we ask the public and are intrigued not to enter the arena, the terrorists have not yet been caught. We ask the public to report to Hotline 100 any unusual event. Anyone with documentation materials is asked to hand it over to the police in the video: the scene of the incident," Israeli police said, according to a Google translation.
Local police asked nearby residents to shelter in place while a manhunt is underway. All three victims of the attack were men in their 40s, according to the Jerusalem Post. Of the injured, at least two were in serious condition, one in critical condition, and one was slightly hurt, the Times of Israel reported.
Some reports indicate that the injuries were the result of an ax attack, but that has not been confirmed. At least one of the assailants wielded either an ax or a knife, witnesses said, according to the Times of Israel. Elad is located roughly 15 miles from Tel Aviv.
Following the attack, police dispatched a helicopter to assist in the search for the vehicle that left the scene of the crime, hoping that could lead authorities to the suspect, according to a police statement. The attack comes as Israel celebrates its 74th Independence Day, though it is unclear if that was part of the motivation for the attack.
הפיגוע באלעד - אנו מבקשים מהציבור ומסקרנים לא להגיע לזירה, המחבלים עדיין לא נתפסו. אנו מבקשים מהציבור לדווח למוקד 100 על כל אירוע חריג. כל מי שיש בידו חומרי תיעוד מתבקש להעבירם לידי המשטרה (בסרטון: זירת האירוע) pic.twitter.com/x9KliFpxvE— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) May 5, 2022
Earlier in the day, Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters who were distraught over the Temple Mount being reopen to Jewish visitors. Hamas, an Islamist militant group deemed a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, threatened retaliation if Jewish visitors "storm the courtyards" of the Al-Aqsa Mosque located at the site, according to the Times of Israel.
Hamas said the attack on Thursday was "a heroic and qualitative operation that constitutes a severe blow to the occupation and its security system, in the context of responding to the crimes of the occupation and the settlers’ incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque," according to the Jerusalem Post.
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Tensions have deteriorated between Israelis and Palestinians in recent weeks. In late March, Israeli officials declared multiple incidents acts of "terrorism," and at least 14 people were killed in those attacks since mid-March.