Israel forces launch manhunt for Palestinian suspect 'who stabbed settler' in Ariel

Israel forces launch manhunt for Palestinian suspect 'who stabbed settler' in Ariel
2 min read
06 February, 2018
Raids have been carried out in the towns surrounding the settlement of Ariel, as Israeli forces hunt down Hakim Asi, accused of stabbing an Israeli settler to death on Monday.
The attack happened by a bus stop outside the Ariel settlement, near Salfit [Twitter]
Israeli forces are carrying out a large-scale manhunt for 19-year-old Hakim Asi whom they have identified as the perpetrator of Monday's stabbing incident which left Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal, 29, dead.

Hakim Asi, thought to be from Jaffa, reportedly stabbed Ben Gal at a bus stop outside Ariel, one of the largest Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

In a video clip that emerged of the incident, the perpetrator gets out of a taxi and approaches Ben Gal who is waiting for the bus, and stabs him. Ben Gal runs away and is chased by Asi.

Later video footage showed Israeli forces conducting raids in the nearby village of Kafl Hares, in the northern West Bank. According to Haaretz, the head of the local council of the town, Abd al-Rahim Buzaya said that the Israeli army blocked all entrances to the town, did not allow anyone to leave and confiscated security cameras from the village's shops.

Hamas have since praised the attack, calling it "a continuation of the resistance to Trump's Jerusalem declaration." The militant group also urged the Palestinian Authority to "halt all coordination with Israel on security matters."

The Palestinian press also reported that raids had been carried out in Burqin, near Jenin, in which two Palestinians were injured by live ammunition employed by the Israeli forces.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that "it was only a matter of time before security forces close accounts with the murderer."

Ben Gal, previously thought to be in his forties, is the second Rabbi to be killed in the West Bank this year. 

On Tuesday morning, it was reported that Ahmed Jarrar, who shot and killed Rabbi Raziel Shevah near the wildcat settler outpost of Havat Gilad, was killed by Israeli forces in a raid near Jenin.

A photo has since emerged on Twitter of the two Rabbis together.

Several Palestinians were killed in clashes that followed the incident in Havat Gilad and subsequent raids on Palestinian towns.

All Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are deemed illegal under international law and viewed as a major obstacle to peace.