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      Thousands Mourn Murdered Grandparents

      Gush Katif residents passed through the Kissufim crossing Sunday afternoon, without being checked by soldiers, on their way to the funeral of grandparents murdered by Arab terrorists last night.
      By Israel National News Staff
      First Publish: 7/24/2005, 7:48 PM / Last Update: 7/24/2005, 12:34 AM

      The funeral procession left at 2:15 p.m. from the community of Ganei Tal, where David and Rachel Kol were visiting Rachels' sister, Ruthie Cohen. Mr. Kol, 58, was a government spokesman and was widely respected and known by journalists.

      The procession of orange-ribboned cars joined thousands of people who arrived at Har Menachot in Jerusalem at 5:30 p.m., where the Kols were buried in one of the largest funerals in memory at the cemetery.

      They are survived by three children: Hila, 24, who has a one-month-old daughter, the Kols' only grandchild; Tamar, 17, and Yehonatan, 15.

      "He was a man of peace," said Ruthie Cohen's daughter Moriah. Mrs. Kol, 53, overcame her husband's objections to visiting Ganei Tal after having visited two previous Saturdays, according to Israel radio. She told him they should visit once more, for the last time, before the planned government expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, Gaza and northern Samaria.

      Two Arab terrorists killed them and wounded three passengers at the Kissufim crossing around midnight Sunday. The army is investigating if it erred in prematurely opening the Kissufim road, the only artery between the Negev and Gush Katif, after having closed it for about two hours following shooting by terrorists.

      The IDF opened the road after conducting a search in vain for the terrorists. Officers explained they were under pressure to keep the road open for hundreds of visitors who wanted to return home after the Sabbath. The road remained closed for several hours after the deadly terrorist attack. Gaza Coast Regional Council officers killed one terrorist and later found the second terrorist, who was killed after an exchange of gunfire.

      Gush Katif residents expressed anger and frustration over the government's failure to stop terror. "The government should be embarrassed by its [inability] to promise security for innocent citizens. It has no answer to the continuing terror against Gush Katif residents," said Shlomo Vasertil, who helped organize the funeral procession.

      Prime Minister Sharon on Sunday repeated previous statements that the government will act harshly against terror.

      Two security officers were also wounded in the attack, including Ami Shaked, head of security for the Gaza Coast Regional Council, who suffered light injuries.

      The terrorists opened fire at several cars west of the overpass near the Gefen Intersection. Two terrorist gangs, the Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade associated with the Palestinian Authority (PA), claimed responsibility for the murderous attack.

      Early this morning, Palestinian terrorists in the area fired an anti-tank rocket at an IDF outpost near N'vei Dekalim. Yesterday, as well, there were several rocket and shell attacks. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

      The Yesha Council called on the Prime Minister to draw the proper conclusions and use the IDF's force against terrorist murderers and not against his own political opponents. "It's about time," the Council stated, "that Sharon wakes up from his dreams and realizes that his plan is granting a supportive wind to terrorism, is bringing a catastrophe upon the citizens of Israel, and in the end, will cause him to be brought before a judicial committee of inquiry."

      Katif Council spokesman Eran Sternberg said, "This is the height of absurdity, in which the residents here are fighting a war against the government from within and against the terrorists from without. If the army would invest one percent of the forces it uses for Sharon's political machinations, terrorism would be stopped... History will judge Sharon and his gang most severely, and will include a badge of shame that will remain forever."