Four Israelis Shot Dead in West Bank



By: SAMMY HUDES AND ELAD BENARI  
Published: September 1st 2010
in News » Israel

The vehicle that was shot at Tuesday evening, following the attack
Pic: YouTube

Four Israelis from the settlement of Beit Hagai were killed Tuesday night, after being shot while driving near Kiryat Arba, which is close to the West Bank city of Hebron. “We can confirm there are four dead at the scene,” said Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld. “Obviously it was a terrorist attack.”

 

The victims of the horrifying attack included two men and two women, one of them pregnant. According to sources, the four people made up two couples, one aged 25, and the other 40. The victims were later identified as Yitzhak and Talya Imes (parents of six children), Kochava Even Chaim, and Avishai Shindler. All four were residents of Beit Hagai. Talya Imes was nine months pregnant at the time of the attack. The devastating shooting, which happened around 7:30 p.m. on Route 60, came on the eve of a U.S. sponsored peace summit in Washington D.C.

 

The IDF is investigating whether the initial shots were fired from a passing car, or from a roadside ambush that had been laid. Eyewitness reports indicated that the terrorists used a well-planned ambush to hit the passengers with their initial shot, and then approached the car to shoot them again from closer range. Israeli security forces say that the gunmen made sure the driver and three passengers were dead before fleeing the scene.

 

At the time of the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on his way to Washington for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to renew direct peace talks after a 20-month hiatus. “This is very grave incident,” said Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, who was briefed on the attack by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin. Barak then relayed the information to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom.

 

“The IDF and Israeli security forces will do everything they can to capture the murderers. Israel will not allow terrorists to lift their heads and [Israel] will exact a price from the murderers and those who sent them. This is likely an attempt by the low-life terrorists to sabotage the diplomatic process and to hurt the chances of the talks opening in Washington.”

 

Prior to his meeting in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Netanyahu said that “terrorism will not determine the fate of Judea and Samaria residents or borders. These issues and others will be determined during negotiations.”

 

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility by any parties, both Israeli and Palestinian security forces blamed Hamas, as it opposes peace contacts with Israel. Farzi Barhoum, a spokesperson for Hamas described the attack as “a natural response by the Palestinian resistance to the enemy’s crimes.”

 

Hamas later claimed responsibility for the attack, while Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas both condemned the attack, saying it was against the interests of the Palestinians.

 

The IDF reportedly did not have previous knowledge regarding the attack, however there was a fear that Palestinian terrorist organizations would use the upcoming peace negotiations to perpetrate attacks within the West Bank. For that reason, Israeli security forces in the West Bank had been placed on a high state of alert. Earlier this week, Ashkenazi toured the area with Brigadier General Nitzan Alon, the IDF commander in the territory. The two discussed the IDF’s readiness to confront efforts to “inflame the region” before the peace talks in Washington.

 

Related articles: (terror attack, west bank, palestinians, hamas)
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