Who is Elan Ganeles? American Citizen Killed by Militants in West Bank as Violence Escalates

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An American-Israeli was shot dead in the West Bank on Monday, heightening the tensions between Israel and the militant organizations operating in the West Bank and Gaza.

The 25-year-old American citizen was killed when the militants drove up at a road junction on the highway in the Jordan Valley, near the city of Jericho. The latest attack followed clashes between the Israeli settlers in the West Bank and the local resistance groups. Footage from the area in Beit HaArava showed the militants arriving at the junction and shooting at passing cars.

Israel Palestine
Israeli police at an attack site - Representational Twitter

Violent clashes had happened in the area on Sunday after a Palestinian gunman murdered two Israeli brothers. Following the attack, Israeli settlers burned down Palestinian homes and cars in the city of Hawara.

Israeli media confirmed that the American victim has been identified as Elan Ganeles. According to the Jerusalem Post, Ganeles hailed from West Hartford, Connecticut, and had recently graduated from Columbia University.

The report said the victim was taken to Hadassah Medical Center at Har Zofim in critical condition, but was declared dead at the hospital. "Sadly, a US citizen was killed in one of the terror attacks in the West Bank tonight ... I pray for his family," US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides tweeted.

West Bank
West Bank Wikimedia Commons

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist organization hailed the attack. "Resistance operations are continuing, and the enemy will pay the price for all its crimes," it said.

Hamas also praised the killing, saying that it was a natural response to Israeli attacks."The crimes conducted by the occupation and the herds of settlers will not be met but with stabbing, shooting and car ramming," Hamas said, according to BBC.

The violence came after Israeli and Palestinian officials had pledged to de-escalate tensions at a summit in Jordan.

A West Bank Check Point
A West Bank Check Point - Photographed from the watching tower at the Harel Brigade memorial site Wikimedia Commons / Josh Evnin

Jordan Peace Talks

The latest attack that resulted in the killing of an American-Israeli casts a shadow over the success of the peace talks between Israel and Palestine leadership in Jordan on Sunday. The attack came even as Israeli and Palestinian officials pledged to de-escalate the violence.

The meeting in Jordan on Sunday was attended by senior US, Jordanian and Egyptian officials, apart from Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The joint statement issued after the meeting both the sides would work closely to prevent further violence. The delegations said they "reaffirmed the necessity of committing to de-escalation on the ground".