Israeli Prison Services Officer Bisan Hilal awoke from a coma on Tuesday, nearly one month after he was shot by US citizen and convicted murderer Samuel Sheinbein in a prison rampage.
Hilal underwent emergency surgery overnight at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba for blood clots and and accumulation of fluids in his chest shortly after the attack, but remained in "serious condition" until now. Family stayed by his side throughout the ordeal.
Bisan lost his brother Jalal Bisan in the Carmel fire disaster three years ago. Now, the Hilal family has been facing the potential for more tragedy.
"Hilal has a wife and five-month-old baby," said his older brother Samer to Channel 2. "He followed his brother's footsteps and served for two years now as a guard at Rimonim prison. Our fingers are crossed - I hope he will recover."
Sheinbein shot and wounded three police officers last month in an apparent escape attempt from Rimonim prison, where he was being held for murder. He was killed by police after unsuccessful attempts to apprehend him; the other two officers recovered shortly after the attack.
An investigation revealed that Sheinbein had been showing 'signs of distress' for several weeks before the shooting and had even made a 'farewell call' to his lawyer; it was later revealed that he had a massive "escape cache" of weapons, disguises, and ammunition in his cell. The IPS is investigating the incident and at least one MK has called for the IPS itself to be investigated over accusations of incompetence.
On September 16, 1997, Sheinbein and Aaron Benjamin Needle, a former classmate at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Aspen Hill, Maryland, killed Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr.. They then dismembered and burned his body.
Sheinbein escaped extradition by claiming Israeli citizenship through his father. He pleaded guilty to killing Tello in an Israeli court in 1999. He was serving a 24-year sentence in Israel but could have faced life in prison if tried in the United States.