February 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Terror Attack Kills Two Israelis in West Bank

February 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Terror Attack Kills Two Israelis in West Bank

Latest Developments

A Palestinian terrorist killed two Israeli civilians today at the Einabus junction in the West Bank. The two victims were brothers — Hillel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19. The attack took place while senior Israeli and Palestinian officials are gathered in the Jordanian city of Aqaba working to defuse tensions. The attacker reportedly wore a shirt with the insignia of the Nablus-based Palestinian terrorist group known as the Lions’ Den. The brothers’ deaths brought to 13 the number of fatalities from Palestinian terror attacks this year — 11 Israeli civilians, a policeman, and a Ukrainian tourist — and raised concern of a further escalation of violence a month before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The assault comes in the wake of a major Israeli operation in Nablus aimed at apprehending members of the Lions’ Den suspected of playing a role in the killing of Israeli soldier Ido Baruch last October. In the wake of the operation, the Lions’ Den threatened a counterattack.

Expert Analysis

“It is unacceptable that yet another horrific Palestinian terrorist attack took place against innocent Israelis, this time while de-escalation talks are underway in Aqaba. The Jordanian, Palestinian, Egyptian, and American officials gathered in Aqaba should condemn this heinous attack. The Palestinian leadership must take immediate action to stop the security situation from further deteriorating.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“It should not come as a surprise that incitement to kill Israelis by terror organizations aligned with Hamas has become reality. The West Bank has become a hotbed of violence, primarily led by terror groups who are taking advantage of a weakened Palestinian Authority. While the Israeli defense establishment has succeeded in limiting attacks and the capabilities of terror groups, it’s clear that more is required to keep the civilian population safe from attacks by these organizations and those inspired by them.” Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

The Attack

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the attacker opened fire from close range at an Israeli-owned car, and then fled the scene. Footage from the attack “showed the victims’ car riddled with bullets,” The Times of Israel reported. “Troops at the scene found 12 nine-millimeter shell casings, indicting the attacker used a handgun or makeshift submachine gun.” An IDF manhunt is underway.

The Violence Is Not New

While some critics of the new Israeli government have described the violence of the past several months as a response to its right-wing policies, the latest round of bloodshed actually began long before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reentered office in December 2022. No less than 1,120 violent incidents have occurred since March 2022. An interactive map created by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and updated daily demonstrates the arc of this campaign.

The Lions’ Den

Established in August 2022, the Lions’ Den comprises terrorists belonging to different Palestinian factions, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. The group unsuccessfully attempted an attack in Jaffa in September 2022 and has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks against IDF troops and Israeli communities in the West Bank. For example, in December 2022, members of the Lions’ Den carried out at least three separate shootings against IDF troops near Nablus, though none resulted in casualties.

Related Analysis

Why the West Bank is in chaos,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Joe Truzman

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman


A previous version incorrectly listed the age of Yagel Yaniv as 16.


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Palestinian Politics