Photo Credit: Stand With Us
Staff Sgt. Eliya Hilel, 20, from Tel Zion, and Staff Sgt. Diego Shvisha Harsaj, 20, from Tel Aviv. May their memories be blessed.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed Wednesday in a late-night terrorist ramming attack at one of the entrances to the Palestinian Authority city of Shechem, in Samaria, close to the Jewish community of Itamar.

IDF Sgt. Eliya Hillel, 20, was a resident of Tel Zion in the Binyamin region. He is survived by his parents and three siblings. IDF Sgt. Diego Shvisha Harsaj, 20, was a resident of Tel Aviv. Both were fighters in the Kefir Brigade’s Nachshon Battalion.

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The two soldiers were struck by a Palestinian Authority terrorist driving a white van. Both were taken in critical condition to Beilinson Medical Center in Petach Tikva immediately following the attack, but doctors were forced to pronounce their deaths a short time later.

May their memories be blessed and may their blood be avenged.

The terrorist turned himself in to Palestinian Authority security forces after fleeing back into Shechem, while IDF troops launched a manhunt to search for the attacker.

IDF Chief of Staff LTG Herzi Halevi arrived at the scene of the attack shortly after to conduct an initial inquiry and situational assessment at the site with the Commanding Officer of the Judea and Samaria Division, BG Yaki Dolf, the Commanding Officer of the Samaria Brigade, COL Shimon Siso, representatives of the Israel Security Agency (ISA), police, and additional commanders.

On Thursday morning, the Commanding Officer of the Central Command, MG Yehuda Fox, arrived at the scene and conducted a situational assessment with the commanders and soldiers operating in the area.

“I again call on the government to continue with full force in carrying out offensive operations in villages to locate terrorists and gather weapons,” Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said following the attack.

Earlier in the day, Palestinian Authority terrorists in Tulkarem opened fire at a Jewish community across the pre-1967 so-called “Green Line.” Miraculously, no one was physically injured in the attack.

Overnight, Israeli military forces carried out operations in Shechem and in the Palestinian Authority capital city of Ramallah.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.