Massive manhunt for terrorists as Palestinians celebrate deadly Independence Day attack

Palestinians hand out sweets in Gaza, Judea and Samaria to celebrate brutal axe murders of Israelis; two terrorists still at large.

By World Israel News Staff

The two Palestinian terrorists who murdered three Israeli civilians with an axe on Independence Day have been identified by Israeli officials, who are asking the public to reach out with any information to help locate the pair.

As the two men remain on the run, Palestinians and the Arab world celebrated the brutal killings.

Israeli authorities named As’ad a-Rafa’i, 19, and Sabhi Abu Shakir, 20, both of Rummanah, a small village near Jenin, as the perpetrators of the attack.

The two men were not previously known to the Israeli authorities, were not immediately linked to a specific Palestinian political movement or terror group, and may have previously worked in the city of Elad, where the attack on Thursday took place.

Hebrew-language media reported that the men had likely illegally entered Israel through a gap in the Green Line security barrier.

After news of the attack reached Arabic news sites, Palestinian social media lit up with praise for the terrorists.

Videos of celebratory fireworks in the Shua’fat neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem and of men handing out sweets in the streets of Shechem (Nablus) in Samaria and in Khan Younes in the Gaza Strip swiftly went viral.

Gazan cartoonist Alaa Lakta drew a picture of an Israeli Independence Day banner being slashed by an axe, which was also well-received on Palestinian social media networks.

Both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad praised the attack as a “heroic operation,” though neither group took responsibility.

According to security blogger Abu Ali Express, many Palestinians are refraining from posting photos of the terrorists or naming them in the hopes that refusing to do so will help them remain at large.

As of Friday afternoon, Israel’s Abraham Accords partners had not yet publicly condemned the attack, which came on the heels of clashes between Arabs and Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount. Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco did not issue statements speaking out against the murders.

The European Union and American government both released statements supporting Israel and condemning the attack.