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      Terrorist Attack at the Cave of the Patriarchs

      An Arab terrorist injured four people this morning, one seriously, in a shooting attack at Hevron's Tomb of the Biblical Patriarchs.
      First Publish: 3/7/2005, 2:51 PM / Last Update: 3/7/2005, 9:28 AM

      Shortly before 9:00am, an Arab terrorist sprayed gunfire at Israelis standing at the entrance to the Machpela Cave, the tomb of the Biblical Patriarchs in Hevron. Four people were injured including a Border Guard soldier who sustained serious wounds.

      The soldier and a lightly injured comrade were transported to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem's Ein Karem neighborhood. Two other lightly wounded security personnel were treated at the scene.

      IDF responds to Hevron Arab attack. Photo: Hevron

      The terrorist emerged from the crowded Hevron kasba market to perpetrate the attempted murder. Arab residents of Hevron have been put under strict curfew as security forces sweep the area for the attacker and possible accomplices. Military forces are still operating in the city at this time.

      A policeman and former border guard patrolling the site responded by shooting at the attacker, forcing the possibly wounded terrorist to flee the scene. Hearing cries of "wounded," army medic and local resident, Yisrael Bromsohn, immediately ran to the site of the attack. Bromsohn administered emergency first aid to the critically wounded victim until additional medical personnel arrived.

      Ariel Levy, who was at the tomb entrance during the attack, said, "I was with another person and we were just going into [the building] when we heard the automatic gunfire a few yards away. We quickly hit the ground." Levy said that all of the injured were border guards on duty at the site.
      Medics treat today's victims in Hevron. Photo: Hevron

      According to Jewish tradition, the Machpela Cave is the burial site of four biblical couples: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, and Adam and Eve.

      In addition to the morning attack at the Machpela Cave, security forces in Hevron arrested an Arab possessing a letter that declared his intention to carry out a suicide bombing. The would-be terrorist was captured after security forces received intelligence warnings of a suicide bomber in the Kiryat Arba area.

      A Hevron spokesman said that Jewish community leaders in Hevron warned IDF Chief-of-Staff Moshe Ya'alon a month ago against the removal and consolidation of IDF positions in the vicinity of the Jewish holy site. At the time, Ya'alon responded that the move was made after directives from the political echelon and was not a security decision.

      Shortly after the attack, Labor party Knesset Member Ephraim Sneh, a former deputy defense minister, visited Hevron. Sneh was greeted with jeers and resentment as residents vocally blamed him for the distribution of weapons to Palestinian Authority Arabs in the Hevron region. Sneh, who recently wrote an editorial stating Jewish bloodshed in the evacuation of Gush Katif might be worthwhile, responded: "You want to kill me just like you killed Rabin." Although, at no time was Sneh threatened physically.