Funeral Tonight for Murdered IDF Soldier
A private funeral for murdered IDF soldier Pvt. Eden Atias will be held Wednesday night at the military cemetery in his hometown of Nazereth Illit at 11:00 pm.
Atias, 19, died Wednesday after an Arab terrorist stabbed him in the neck and upper body on a bus at Afula's Central Bus Station. The assailant, just 16, is a Palestinian Arab from Jenin who is reported to have been illegally staying in Northern Israel.
In the past week, the rate of terror attacks against Israelis has escalated, in the wake of the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to broker peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The IDF continues to downplay the possibility of a third intifada - which Israelis and Palestinian Arabs alike suspect is imminent - citing merely "a string of attacks."
Nazereth Illit residents have been mourning heavily Wednesday since the news was announced. Atias had only been drafted into the IDF a few weeks ago.
"He was a modest and quiet man, who loved the Army," friends said, noting that Atias "had a lot of dreams and ambition."
Atias's aunt explained, "he had plans for his life - studies and other things he wanted to do. He wanted to donate his service to the Border Patrol or to the Army Police. His mother - my sister - heard at work today that a soldier had been stabbed and she had a terrible feeling that it was him," she said. Atias's mother only managed to confirm the news after reaching HaEmek hospital in Afula.
"We live in a city with peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs," Atias's aunt continued. The incident has brought city residents "great pain."