Jew Opens Fire in Bus, Kills Four Arabs

A Jewish soldier who went AWOL from the IDF one month ago killed four people and wounded 12 others when he opened fire inside a bus in an Arab town in the Galilee.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 19:37

Angry residents lynched the 19-year-old following the shooting. He was identified as Eden Natan Zada from Rishon L'tzion, a city south of Tel Aviv. Israeli media reported that he recently moved to the Kfar Tapuach community in northeast Samaria after turning to religion and becoming involved in extreme political activism, but the administrator of the community said he never heard of the man.

The killer's parents, worried over their son's radical change, said they had asked the army to take away their son's weapon but were told by officers there was no need to do so.

Israeli media tried to link the murder with anti-expulsion protests and pointed out that the murderer had refused to take part in the planned expulsion. Former MK Rabbi Chanan Porat told questioning interviewers there is absolutely no connection to be made between the anti-expulsion protests and the murder.

The bus reached the town of Shfaram, which is made up of Christians and Moslems, from Haifa when Zada, dressed in a Border Police uniform, opened fire and killed the driver, another man and two girls. He continued to shoot at people inside and outside the bus as the bus continued to roll down the residential street. The bus came to a halt and at least one bus passenger managed to disarm the gunman.

Police fanned out throughout Arab towns to ward off riots.

Many questions remained unanswered following the murder, which occurred shortly before 6 p.m., particularly concerning events immediately after the shooting. Police approached the bus in the town of Shafarm after the shooting and removed an angry mob from the bus and reportedly tried to protect the vehicle from hundreds of angry Arab residents. Five officers were injured as the mob pelted them with stones and bottles. Several people got past police, but it was not clear whether the shooter was killed following the police intervention or whether he died from the initial mob attack.

Zada was in an IDF unit other than the Border Police and it is not known how or why he obtained the Border Police uniform.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said the IDF must investigate why the murderer had his weapon with him after having been AWOL for an extended period of time.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said, "This was a reprehensible act by a bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist who sought to attack innocent Israeli citizens.... I send condolences to the families of those who were murdered and my best wishes for a quick recovery to those who were wounded. The entire State of Israel, regardless of race, religion or sex, strongly condemns this act of terrorism."

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha Council) announced its shock, denouncing the murder as being committed by someone "crazy." Yesha spokesmen criticized "the cynical use of the incident by certain political entities to try to make a connection between the serious incident and the democratic, legitimate and nonviolent protest against the expulsion from Gush Katif being waged.

"Repeatedly referring to him as 'a settler' even though he was not a resident of any settlement is an attempt to slander a whole population who is leading a democratic protest in an exemplary way. It would be better to act with more responsibility instead of criticizing only in order to gain dubious political benefits."



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