A Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist attacked the Judean community of Bat Ayin late Thursday morning, south of Jerusalem.
One boy was murdered and a second was seriously wounded by the axe-wielding terrorist, who infiltrated the Gush Etzion community, carried out the attack and managed to escape within an hour's span.
Magen David Adom officials who rushed to the scene said that despite desperate attempts by paramedics to save his life, the soul of 16-year-old Shlomo Nativ slipped away shortly after the terrorist attacked him.
Murdered Boy is Son of Founding Family
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shaul Goldstein told Voice of Israel government radio that Nativ was the son of one of the original founding families of the community.
"People are shocked" by the attack, Goldstein said. He challenged the new Netanyahu government to respond properly to the attack, pointing out several recent reductions in the number and strength of IDF forces in the area.
"This attack demonstrates clearly that we must not release anymore terrorists," he said. The funeral for Shlomo Nativ will be held in Bat Ayin Thursday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. He will be laid to rest in the Gush Etzion cemetery.
Wounded 7-yr-old's Father Not Home
A second, younger boy who was also attacked suffered serious head wounds and was evacuated by helicopter to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center. A spokesperson for the hospital said that Yair Gamliel, who arrived fully conscious despite his grievous wounds, would soon undergo surgery to repair his broken skull. He is listed in serious, but stable condition.
The wounded child is the son of Ofer Gamliel, who is serving his seventh year of a 15-year jail term for plotting a bomb attack against Arabs.
The bomb that Gamliel used years ago was not a bomb that was capable of exploding. He claimed in court that he and his friends had only planned a bomb scare and had purposely used a neutralized bomb. The court did not accept his claim and found him guilty of an attempted attack.
Resident Struggled to Stop Terrorist
The terrorist, who had no connection with the community, managed to escape, despite the efforts of residents to stop him.
"I ran towards the terrorist and tried to grab the axe from him," said Bat Ayin resident Avinoam Maimon. "I yelled to a woman who saw us to call the police. I could see murder in his eyes."
Maimon told reporters that the terrorist "kept trying to hit me while we struggled. At one point I fell down, and he ran away. But then I saw someone running after him and I heard gunshots."
MDA and security officials urged residents to remain in their homes, and blocked those outside from coming in to the community while IDF forces searched for the terrorist. The road was reopened to traffic about two hours after the attack.
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shaul Goldstein denied that the terrorist was an Arab worker in the community. "No Arab workers are allowed in Bat Ayin," he explained, pointing out that the residents prefer to support Jewish labor.
The attacker's identity is unknown and no terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Council: Removing Roadblocks Leads to Terror
The Binyamin and Shomron Development Council issued a statement on Thursday afternoon blaming Defense Minister Ehud Barak for the attack.
The council said that Barak's "lax policies and removing road blocks" was responsible for allowing terrorists to move freely about the region, enabling them to attack Jewish communities.
"The prime minister and defense minister must understand that the foolish security policies of Barak sacrifice Israeli safety in order to please the left," said the council. "Barak is playing with the lives of Jewish citizens and we demand that the prime minister bring this to an end."
Bat Ayin Resident Murdered by Terrorists Two Years Ago
Another Bat Ayin resident, Erez Levanon, was stabbed to death by Arab terrorists who ambushed him just outside the community two years ago.
Friends and neighbors of the 42-year-old husband and father of three searched for him when he did not come home on February 25, 2007. A well-liked musician, friends said that Levanon made it a habit to seek solitude in the nearby hills where he could contemplate the wonders of creation.
His bloodied body was finally located late at night by his neighbors and friends on the side of a dirt road just a few hundred meters from his home in the Judean Hills.