Scene of the murder
Scene of the murderIsrael news photo: Arutz Sheva

Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai, 40, of Shavei Shomron, was mortally wounded in the head Thursday afternoon when terrorists fired at the car he was traveling in, between the Jewish communities of Shavei Shomron and Einav in Samaria, west of Shechem, according to preliminary reports.

He left behind seven children, of whom the youngest is two months old and the oldest is 17.

The slain rabbi's funeral left the Shamgar funeral home in Jerusalem at 10:00 Friday and proceeded to the Mount of Olives.

Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai / Photo: Yitzchak Levy, Shavei Shomron

A spokesperson for Shavei Shomron said that Rabbi Meir Chai worked as an educator at the local school and kindergarten, and that the children were very attached to him. He lived in the community for 14 years and was considered a wise Torah scholar, modest and well-loved. 

Scene of the attack / Israel news photo: Arutz Sheva

A large force of Israeli soldiers and police has started searching for the terrorists, who escaped the scene.

Magen David Adom emergency services declared the victim of the shooting dead late Thursday afternoon.

Rabbi Chai was driving on route 57 when terrorists opened fire on him. His car overturned and he was mortally wounded. His wife and a young son were found in good physical condition by Israeli troops, a short time after the shooting, near Einav. Until they were found, security forces were concerned that the terrorists had tried to abduct the two.

Numerous voices are blaming the government's policy of gestures toward the enemy for making the murder possible.

Fatah faction: we did it

The Al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction said Thursday evening they were the ones who carried out the terror slaying.

The Bethlehem-based Maan news agency says terrorists from a group named after slain Hizbullah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh carried out the attack and escaped.

The murder was the first fatality in a terror attack in more than seven months. The last terror murder victim was Gregory Rabinovitch, 56, a taxi driver murdered May 10 near Gan Yavneh. Two months after the murder, security forces reported that it was carried out by terrorists.