Three fathers of 16 children have been named as the victims of a terror attack on Thursday evening in the Strictly Orthodox city of Elad.
Yonatan Havakuk, Boaz Gol, and Oren Ben Yiftah were pronounced dead after two suspected attackers used knives and what is believed to be an axe in a terror attack as locals were celebrating Yom Ha’azmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.
Havakuk, 44, and Gol, 49 were both residents of the central Israeli city of Elad, and were both fathers of five children. Ben Yiftah, 35, was a resident of Lod and father to six children.
Havakuk's widow, Linor, wrote in a post on social media that he fought one of the attackers which enabled others to get to safety: "My husband fought against them with great heroism and saved many lives. He fought with them for long minutes, which allowed many to flee the scene.
“God bless you, dear and beloved husband. We will miss you very much.”
Local residents described Havakuk as an "outstanding" person who was "always smiling".
The aftermath of a suspected terror attack in the central Israel city of Elad pic.twitter.com/m8rYsbpV7O— The Jewish Chronicle (@JewishChron) May 5, 2022
Galit Gol, the widow of Boaz Gol, reportedly shouted outside the family home in Elad: “How did I lose him? God, why did this happen to us? Why do we deserve this?”
She said: “In one day my life ended. In one day everything turned upside down," according to the Ynet news site.
Boaz Gol's sister-in-law told the publication that he was walking to a Torah lesson when he was killed.
One of his sons was studying at yeshiva when he learned of the attack, telling reporters that he was unable to reach his father: “I called home and they told me dad wasn’t answering. I arrived home and outside they told me that dad lost a lot of blood and didn’t survive."
The third victim of the attack, Oren Ben Yiftah, was working in Elad as a driver for an event, family members told The Times of Israel.
His neighbour told Haaretz: "He was a sweet and graceful man who was always smiling. He said he was worried about the terror attacks in recent weeks and inquired about getting a gun license."
Emergency services on the scene of a terror attack in the city of Elad (Photo via MDA Spokesperson)
The funerals for the three victims are set to get underway this afternoon, and the Elad local authority said that the funeral processions would start from the scene of the attack.
Havakuk and Gol will be buried in Elad, while Ben Yiftah's funeral will take place in the city of Lod, where he lived.
At least seven others were injured in the attack, three seriously, Israel's emergency medical service said. One of the men is in stable but critical condition after receiving "deep axe wounds" to his head. He remains unconscious in hospital.
A manhunt is underway to find the suspected attackers, with the suspects named as Asad Yosef Asad Al-Rafa'i, age 19, and Tzachi Emad Tzachi Abu Shakir, age 20.
A manhunt has been launched to find the suspected attackers in Thursday's terror attack. (Photo: Israeli Police)
Both are thought to be residents of a village near the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank, and police have appealed this afternoon for information to help find the two men.
President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has condemned the attack, saying that the killing of civilians will lead to further deterioration and action must be taken to prevent any escalation.
Tensions have been high in Israel over the last month, with Israelis and Palestinians repeatedly clashing at Temple Mount.
Thursday night's attack is the seventh in the last six weeks, with the latest wave leaving 19 Israelis dead.