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Two Israelis killed in West Bank shooting attack

An Israeli soldier and a Rabbi were killed in a West Bank shooting attack near the Ariel Junction on Sunday.

Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, aged 47, was shot while driving through the Ariel junction and died of his wounds this morning. The attacker, according to Palestinian media, is Omar Abu Laila, a 19-year-old from the town of Az-Zawiya. Yesterday morning he stabbed Sergeant Gal Keidan and stole his gun, opening fire at three passing vehicles, hitting Rabbi Ettinger, before stealing an abandoned vehicle and escaping. He drove to the nearby Gitai Avishar junction, where he opened fire again, wounding another soldier, Alexander Dvorsky.

The car he was driving was found abandoned near the West Bank village of Burkin. It is thought he is hiding in one of the villages in the vicinity.

Israeli security forces on Monday reportedly detained the father and brother of the attacker and the large scale manhunt has entered a second day. According to the IDF: “Troops conducted extensive searches and carried out security checks at the entrances and exits of the villages. The forces continue to carry our operational and intelligence efforts in order to locate and apprehend the assailant.”

The army said soldiers have carried out preparatory work to destroy the family home, a common tactic used by Israel, which says it acts as a deterrent against future attacks. The IDF said it was not immediately clear whether the suspect was affiliated with any terrorist organisation or was acting alone.

Sergeant Keidan, aged 19, will be buried this morning at a military cemetery in his hometown of Beer Sheva.

An initial IDF inquiry concluded that military personnel on operational duty failed to respond as they should have. After the soldier was stabbed and his gun was taken, the soldier standing next to him did not open fire. The Israeli army commander, standing on the other side of the intersection, was also unable to take action to stop the attacker from escaping.