Three killed in suspected Palestinian attack in Israel

STORY: An apparent attack with what witnesses say were axes or knives left three people dead in the central Israeli city of Elad on Thursday, the country’s independence day. Police suspect it was a Palestinian attack.

Witnesses and emergency responders reported that two attackers, armed with knives, axes, or both, targeted passers-by in a park.

Witness Haim Davida described the scene:

"My son who was outside the building, entered inside and started shouting "terrorists are outside." We went out and we saw them attacking people. What happened, I ran to the man who had an injury in his head, I did first aid and I stopped the bleeding. The people who were here ran after the terrorists wishing to catch them."

Police set up roadblocks to try to catch the assailants who fled the scene, about nine miles from Tel Aviv. Ariel Cohen, a police investigator from nearby Rosh Hayin, said the search for the assailant is ongoing.

"We are talking about several crime scenes in the city of Elad, right now we are searching for the terrorist, we do not have full indication if it is a one terrorist or more. We are conducting chase after him, we have helicopter with us and we are setting roadblock in order to catch him."

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid responded on Twitter saying, quote:

"The joy of Independence Day was cut short in an instant."

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. There have been a series of Arab attacks in recent weeks, mostly targeting civilians before Elad, Palestinians and members of Israel’s Arab minority had killed fifteen people in Israel and the West Bank.

Earlier on Thursday - confrontations again broke out between Palestinians and Israeli police at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a site in Jerusalem’s Old City that is important in both Islam and Judaism.

Jewish visitors were allowed into the area on Thursday after their entrance to the site had been suspended for the last 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian group that controls Gaza, praised the attack - but did not claim responsibility. It also said the Elad attack was a response to Israeli actions at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting