Danny Gonen

Family and friends mourn at funeral of 25-year-old victim Danny Gonen. (Flash90)

One young Israeli was murdered and another wounded by an Arab terrorist on Friday. The Palestinian leadership issued no condemnation, while some Palestinian factions praised the attack.

Danny Gonen, 25, was murdered and his friend was wounded on Friday when a Palestinian terrorist fired bullets at their car.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the two men were driving along a dirt road outside the community of Dolev in the Benjamin region of Judea and Samaria when the attack occurred. Gonen was critically wounded, evacuated by helicopter and subsequently died of his wounds at a hospital. The second victim was lightly wounded.

The military said the men had been hiking and the attack occurred in the vicinity of a water spring. According to the IDF report, a Palestinian man pulled them over, asking for information about a nearby spring before opening fire on them.

The police reported that the attack was carried out with a 9-millimeter caliber handgun, and they were shot at close range.

The attack is believed to have been carried out by a single terrorist, but other options are under investigation

The IDF launched a manhunt for the assailant, with no breakthroughs so far.

Responding to the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the terror attack “a despicable act.”

“We will operate with all our strength in order to catch the murderer and to punish him to the fullest extent of the law. I offer my condolences to the family and wish a speedy recovery to Danny’s friend who was injured in the attack,” Netanyahu stated.

“We should not let the relative quiet deceive us. The efforts to attack us continue constantly, just as we are operating constantly to prevent attacks with all the tools at our disposal,” he added.

No Palestinian Condemnation, Wide Support

President Reuven Rivlin stated that Israel will not sit quietly when a young Israeli loses his life simply because he is a Jew. He demanded that the Palestinian leadership issue a clear condemnation of the attack, as they “bear responsibility for the terror attack which emanated from the area under their control.” He demanded a similar condemnation from the Arab leadership in Israel. “The heart is broken by the bitter news. In the name of Israel, I sent my condolences to his family and I wish the wounded victim a speedy recovery,” he said.

So far, Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab leadership in Israel has not heeded Rivlin’s call and has remained silent on the attack.

However, several Palestinian factions and military groups on Saturday applauded the terror.

danny gonen attack

Medics treat one of the victims at the site of the terror attack. (Tazpit News Agency)

The Palestinian Hamas terror group praised the attack but stopped short of claiming responsibility. The terror cell that claimed responsibility for the attack is believed o be linked to Hamas and is named after the terrorists who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers last summer.

The military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said in a statement that the shooting was a “natural response to the Israeli occupation’s crimes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported. “The Palestinian people have a legitimate right to practice resistance of every type using any means,” the statement added.

Similarly, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) released a statement describing the attack as “a message to challenge the Israeli government.”

The group said the Israeli government is surprised at the shooting, as it “counted on its crimes and escalation against Palestinians to cultivate a spirit of frustration and desperation among them.”

Friday’s terror attack was also supported by the Islamic Jihad group.

‘Always First to Help’

Gonen, an electrical engineering student at Bar-Ilan University and the eldest of five siblings, was buried on Saturday night at his home town of Lod.

gonen terror attack

Police inspect cars near the scene of the murder. (Flash90)

Gonen’s mother Devorah said at the funeral that her son died for what he believed. “You lived your life as a free Jew in his own country. You loved this country and you loved the truth. You raised the banner of truth and that’s how you lived. The love of the Land of Israel was of high value to you, and you loved hiking in the land. That’s how you were murdered – hiking in the land you loved.”

Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel, who attended the funeral together with thousands, said the spring where Gonen was murdered will be named after him.

Aharon, Danny’s uncle, later spoke to Israel’s IDF Radio and spoke of a young man who was always first to help and volunteer.

“He was a boy who loved to help, who loved to give. A boy who was always the first to volunteer and help with anything. Anywhere he arrived he excelled. During Operation Protective Edge, at school, in the family. He was always the first to help anywhere he went, always glad to help.”

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
AP contributed to this report.

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