American citizen killed in latest West Bank shooting amid escalating violence

This is an evolving story.

(JTA) – The American national killed in a shooting in the West Bank on Monday has been identified as Elan Ganeles, a recent graduate of Columbia University who grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Ganeles was shot dead while driving near the Palestinian city of Jericho in the eastern West Bank. His assassination is the latest attack in an escalating wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Ganeles grew up in West Hartford, where his family belonged to Young Israel of West Hartford, and he attended modern Orthodox schools. He was an honors student at the Hebrew High School of New England and volunteered with local Jewish family services, according to a 2014 article published about him.

At the time, he said he postponed enrolling at the University of Michigan and joining the US military to spend a year in Israel. This time in Israel lasted more than a year and he instead joined the Israel Defense Forces. He then returned to the United States in 2018 to study at Columbia University, where he graduated in Sustainable Development and Neuroscience in 2022, according to his LinkedIn account.

Ganeles’ funeral will be held in Israel and the family will return to Connecticut to sit Shiva, according to an email sent to Young Israel parishioners of West Hartford. The email said Ganeles was “murdered in a brutal act of terrorism in Israel today.” The synagogue offers the services of bereavement counselors to the congregation.

On Monday, gunmen drove to the Ganeles’ car and shot at him, seriously injuring him and also shooting at other cars, according to Israeli reports. No other injuries were reported. According to Israeli police, the gunmen exited their car and set it on fire.

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The attack came a day after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israelis traveling through the Palestinian town of Huwara in the northern West Bank. Later, settlers in Huwara rioted, burning houses and cars. At least one Palestinian was killed in the unrest.

In all, more than a dozen Israelis, most of them civilians, have been killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks since early 2023. During the same period, Israel has killed more than 60 Palestinians, including a number of civilians, in military attacks against militant cells in the West Bank.


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