Three men were killed and three others wounded in and around the community of Ariel in central Israel on Tuesday morning in a terrorist stabbing and car-ramming attack. The terrorist was shot dead by security forces and armed civilians.

The three dead were identified as Michael Ladygin, 36, Mordechai (Motti) Ashkenazi, 59, and Tamir Avihai, 50. Ladygin was a father of two small children and lived in Bat-Yam. He had moved to Israel only five years ago, following a passion for the Jewish homeland.

Ashkenazi, a resident of Yavne, was a father of three and grandfather of two. His family said that “Motti was a loving person, full of joy for life, an exemplary family man with a huge soul who always loved to help everyone. He loved life and took advantage of every moment.”

Avihai, a 50-year-old father of six from Kiryat Netafim, was killed after being rammed into by the Palestinian terrorist. Avihai was known for his sincere kindness and smile for everyone.

In an interview with local news, the daughters of Tamir Avihai spoke between tears: “He was a man with a lot of joy in life, a lot of joy will be missing here without him.”

Yossi Dagan, mayor of the Samaria Regional Council and a friend of Avihai, said “Tamir was a person with a glowing face full of goodness and a desire to help other people, a man of kindness. ... Whenever I would meet him, he would greet me with his broad smile.”

The three fathers killed in the attack were: from left, Tamir Avihai, Michael Ladygin and Motti Ashkenazi.
The three fathers killed in the attack were: from left, Tamir Avihai, Michael Ladygin and Motti Ashkenazi.

Rampage Begins with Gas Station Stabbing

According to reports by the Israel Defense Forces an 18-year-old from the nearby Palestinian town of Hares began his rampage by stabbing a security guard at the entrance of the Ariel Industrial Park. He then stabbed three additional victims in and around a nearby gas station, before fleeing in a stolen vehicle.

The terrorist then drove onto the Route 5 highway, where he crashed his vehicle into other cars. Thinking it was a road accident, drivers stepped outside their vehicles, and the terrorist followed and stabbed two additional victims.

Magen David Adom ambulance service medic, Odelia Shahaf, was at the scene of the traffic incident.

“I was on the road and noticed what looked like a car accident. I saw a wounded man lying on the road and immediately went over to him,” she said. “While I started treating him I heard people shouting ‘terrorist terrorist’ and saw a man with a knife running in our direction. He then managed to stab and injure a 35-year-old man. I went over to the wounded man who was badly stabbed and stopped his bleeding.”

The terrorist then stole a second car and drove against highway traffic, causing more serious car collisions. When he stepped out of the car a second time, the terrorist was shot dead by soldiers and armed civilians.

One of the soldiers who had shot the terrorist was off-duty and on his way to the memorial of a friend and former employer, Shalom Sofer, who had been killed in a terror attack just one month earlier.

The soldier, who can only be identified as Private Y., said in a video statement released by the IDF, “This morning while I was driving on Route 5, I noticed an unusual incident on the road. When I realized it was a terror attack, I got out of the car, identified the terrorist, and opened fire at him.”

Another on-duty soldier from the Golani Brigade and armed civilians also opened fire at the terrorist, killing him.

Magen David Adom says the 36-year-old security guard who was stabbed at the beginning of the terror attack remains in serious condition. It is unclear why a second security guard nearby did not shoot at the terrorist but only gave a warning shot. Security officials have opened an investigation to understand what went wrong.

Two of the dead were killed at the gas station, and one was seriously injured.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry stated that the terrorist had a valid working permit from Israeli authorities and was employed in the Ariel industrial zone. He had no any prior security offenses.