Palestinian terrorists murdered four Jewish civilians in a shooting attack at the Bani Naim junction just south of Hevron Tuesday evening. Emergency service paramedics could do nothing to save the victims whose bodies were riddled with bullets. The terrorists had reportedly made sure their victims were dead by shooting them from close range after the initial fusillade, as terrorists have done in prior attacks on unarmed civilians and children.
(Video filmed by David Wilder, Hevron)
The victims are a husband and wife, parents of six, and two passengers. Their names were cleared for publication Tuesday night by local police:
- Yitzchak and Talya Imas
- Kochava Even-Chaim
- Avishai Shindler
Yitzchak and Talya Imas were the parents of six children, the eldest one being 24 years old and the youngest one being a year and a half old. Talya Imas was nine months' pregnant when she was killed by the terrorists.
Kochava Even-Chaim was a teacher in Efrat. She left behind her husband and an 8-year-old daughter. Her husband, one of the first Zaka first aid volunteers to arrive at the scene, discovered that his wife was among the victims when he approached the attacked car.
Avishai Shindler had only recently moved to Beit Haggai with his wife.
The funerals of all four victims will take place beginning at 11:00 am on Wednesday. Eulogies will be delivered in the Beit Haggai synagogue, and the funeral processions will then take place. During the processions residents of Mount Hebron, Kiryat Arba, Efrat, and Gush Etzion will stand on the road with Israeli flags and pay their last respects to the victims.
One of the victims had a license for a gun that was suspended by police shortly before the attack. Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel said at the scene that serious soul-searching must be done "in order to find out how it is that Jews are deprived of the basic right to defend themselves."
Hamas took "credit" for the terror attack, while PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the attack was "against Arab interests." Fayyad added that the PA will act to prevent additional acts of terror, though he did not explain how it would do so in the future any better than it has up to now.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi arrived on the scene of the attack along with Head of Central Command Major General Avi Mizrahi and Judea and Samaria Commander Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon. Ashkenazi said, "First, we express our condolences to the victims' families and to Beit Haggai. We have been working in several directions since the event occurred, and will continue to search until we capture the terrorists. The IDF, along with other security agencies, continues to operate non-stop until we capture the murderers who were responsible for this incident. "
The terror attack is typical of Arab "resistance" attacks that intentionally target civilian victims. A survey carried out by a PA organization in early August found that among the Arab public in the Palestinian Authority, over 55% view violence as either essential or desirable, nearly 31% see it as either acceptable or tolerable, and only 13.7% say it is unacceptable.
The attack was probably timed to coincide with and affect the direct talks between Israel and the PA in Washington, D.C., that are to begin Thursday. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said upon landing in Washington that the talks would proceed as planned, despite the murders, evoking memories of PM Yitschak Rabin's term "sacrifices for peace" for the post Oslo accord terror attacks, which cost tens of Israelis their lives.Just prior to his meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Netanyahu said: "Terrorism will not determine the fate of Judea and Samaria residents or borders. These issues and others will be determined during negotiations."
The White House also condemned the terrorist attack and warned that "enemies of peace" would try to thwart direct peace talks.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement."We express our condolences to the victims' families and call for the terrorists behind this horrific act to be brought to justice.
It is crucial that the parties persevere, keep moving forward even through difficult times, and continue working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region that provides security for all peoples."