Israeli Couple Killed in Front of Their Four Children in Drive-By Terror Attack
An Israeli couple was shot and killed in front of their four children Thursday night in the West Bank, in what appears to have been a drive-by terrorist attack.
According to reports, the family was driving near the Palestinian village of Beit Furik when their vehicle came under heavy gunfire from a moving vehicle.
Magen David Adom paramedics who arrived at the scene found Eitam and Na’ama Henkin from the settlement of Neriya, both approximately 30 years old, with bullet wounds to their torsos.
The children – aged nine, seven, four and a four-month-old baby — were examined by MDA medical personnel near the Itamar junction, not far from the site of the attack on the family’s car. It was determined that they were not injured physically and did not require hospital care.
“It was a very difficult scene,” MDA paramedic Boaz Malka, one of the first to arrive on the scene, told the Times of Israel. “We saw a vehicle in the middle of the road, and a man in his thirties lying next to it with wounds in his upper torso. Inside the car sat a woman in her thirties, also with severe wounds to her upper torso. They were without any signs of life, and unfortunately we were forced to pronounce them dead at the scene.”
The IDF said Israeli security forces are searching the area for suspects.
Responding to the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian incitement.
“It has been proven again that the wild Palestinian incitement leads to acts of terrorism and murder such as we have seen this evening,” he said from New York, where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly earlier today.
“This is a difficult day for the State of Israel,” he continued. “We are witness to an especially heinous and shocking murder in which parents were murdered, leaving four young orphans. My heart is with the children, all of our hearts are with the children and the family. The killers knew that they were murdering a mother and father, the children were there.”
Netanyahu said he would be speaking shortly with leading Israeli officials and vowed to take steps “not only to apprehend the murderers but also to increase security for all Israeli citizens.”
President Reuven Rivlin released the following statement:
Tonight, bloodthirsty murderers claimed the lives of a mother and a father, leaving their young children orphaned. The heart breaks at the magnitude of such cruelty and hatred.
We will continue in our brave and unwavering fight against this cruel and heinous terrorism — of this our enemies can be sure. This is our duty, and the only way we can ensure the right of the orphans who lost their parents tonight, along with the right of all our children and grandchildren, to live with security and in peace, everywhere in the Land of Israel.
We pray for the speedy recovery of the injured children — our hearts and thoughts are with them.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog was also quick to respond to the news. “The murder in Samaria is reprehensible and very painful. I share in the family’s grief and in the community’s mourning,” he tweeted.
Ministers Uri Ariel and Naftali Bennett also blamed Palestinian Authority incitement for the attack.
“The Palestinian leadership is responsible for the horrific murder; it’s the killing of Jews because they are Jews,” Bennett said. “It has to be said clearly: This is the end of the era of the Palestinian state.”
“This murderous occurrence which orphaned four little children is the direct result of Abu Mazen’s litany of lies last night at the United Nations,” said Ariel. “The responsibility is his and he must answer for it.”
However, MK Tzipi Livni, the former justice minister who was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lead the negotiations with the Palestinians, condemned the attack. She said that while the entire country is mourning the couple and devastated for their now-orphaned children, the incident should not be used as a political tool.
Hamas praised the double murder, and called on activists in the West Bank to carry out additional terrorist attacks.