Independence Day Axe Attack in Israel’s Elad Leaves Three Dead, Four Wounded
© AP Photo / Maya AlleruzzoIsraeli forces secure the area of a stabbing attack in the town of Elad, Israel, Thursday, May 5, 2022.
© AP Photo / Maya Alleruzzo
Israeli Independence Day, which commemorates the foundation of the independent state in the former British Palestine Mandate in 1948, is decried by Palestinians as The Nakba, or catastrophe, because the resulting war saw more than 700,000 Arabs driven off the land of the new country.
The latest attack on civilians in Israel killed three people and injured four on Thursday, when at least two men attacked people on a street in the western city of Elad.
According to the Israeli Magen David Adom emergency response service, three people were killed, two more were seriously wounded, and two others less seriously wounded by someone carrying an axe and a pistol.
Israeli police said there were two suspected attackers, one of whom had been shot and killed by police. All exits to the city were blocked and police launched a manhunt for the other suspect.
The city was built near Tel Aviv in the 1990s to provide housing for Haredi Jews, also called Ultra-Orthodox Jews, and the city is laid out to be amenable to walking.
The attack, which occurred on Israeli Independence Day, is just the latest in several such incidents in Israel in recent months. In late March, in another majority-Haredi city near Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, a Palestinian man shot five people to death in the street with an assault rifle. In another attack in early April, a Palestinian man opened fire in a crowded Tel Aviv bar, killing three people and wounding eight.
The uptick in attacks comes amid renewed violence in Jerusalem, where Palestinians have rallied for more than a year against the eviction of several Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Recent weeks have also seen Israeli police storming al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of the holiest shrines in Islam, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, injuring hundreds of worshipers. After several rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza in response to the violence, the Israeli Air Force bombed Gaza, one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
It also comes after construction work on a new settlement in Hebron, the first new Jewish settlement founded in the West Bank in 17 years, began last October. The United Nations has denounced Israeli settlements in the territory as violations of international law, as has the Palestinian National Authority, for whom the West Bank is intended to serve as the core of a new Palestinian state, along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.