Liveblog: Terror attack in Kiryat Arba: Four people murderedTwo men and two women - one of them pregnant - were murdered in a terror attack near Kiryat Arba this evening. All were residents of Beit Hagai and all were between the ages of 25-40.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, "Shot were fired from close range at the vehicle at approximately 7:30 p.m. All four occupants of the vehicle were shot dead. The area has been cordoned off by Border Police, Judea and Samaria Police and the IDF. Security forces are searching for the attackers."That's about an hour and a half ago.
The attack occurred around 7:30 P.M. on Route 60, when shots were fired at a private vehicle near the Bnei Naim junction, south of Kiryat Arba. Preliminary reports showed the gunmen approached the vehicle and shot the victims multiple times at point-blank range.YNet adds:
At least some of the victims, who are all residents of Beit Hagai, are members of the same family. Ambulance service officials said the victims include two men aged about 25 and 40, as well as two women of roughly the same ages, one of them pregnant.Unusually, no one seems to be rushing to take credit.
According to initial reports, an Israeli vehicle traveling in the area came under fire directed at it from a passing vehicle at the Bani Naim junction on Highway 60, between Hebron and Kiryat Arba.
More than one terrorist apparently took part in the attack, with Channel Two reporting the attackers apparently confirmed the death of the Israeli victims by shooting them at close range, before fleeing the scene.
"The vehicle was sprayed with dozens of bullets," a paramedic at the scene told Channel 2. "There were numerous shell casings around. We found four bodies and there was no chance whatsoever to help them; all we could do was to pronounce the death of these four Jews."
Paramedic Guy Gonen told Ynet: "The victims were hit by numerous shots from short range. It looked like a well-planned ambush."
IDF security forces were scouring the area for suspects. Notably, the army had been on high alert ahead of the resumption of peace talks in Washington. Troops set up roadblocks on Hebron-area roads in an effort to nab the attackers.
Military officials said that they did not have any specific advance warning of such attack, but rather, only routine alerts.
Following the attack, security forces across the nation were ordered to go on high alert ahead of the possibility of further attacks.
Palestinian security forces were also informed of the attack, which took place just as the Ramadan fast was ending, and are looking into the incident. A Palestinian security official said that a Hamas cell is believed to be behind the lethal attacks. He noted that the last attack in the Hebron region, which left an Israeli police officer killed, was also the work of Hamas.Israel Television is reporting that all the towns in the area are closed and that the attack area is a closed military zone.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Ynet the attack was not meant to foil direct peace talks, and said the negotiations had failed even before starting.
"This is a natural response by the Palestinian resistance to the enemy's crimes, and is proof that despite the resistance's persecution by the security services and despite Israel's crimes, the Palestinians are capable of responding to these crimes."
"This is proof that the Palestinian resistance is living, breathing, and kicking," he said.
Addressing the Palestinian Authority's estimate that Hamas was behind the attack, Barhoum said: "Things are not as they were described by the Authority's security forces."
Meanwhile, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) told Ynet Tuesday's shooting attack was a message to the Palestinian negotiating team ahead of the resumption of direct talks with Israel.
"They should not have embarked on this move without the support of the Palestinian people," PRC Spokesman Abu Mujahid said. "Our people still espouse the resistance and do not believe in the fictitious talks scheduled to commence tomorrow."
The dead people are a couple who left children behind, and two hitchhikers. The driver's personal weapon was confiscated several months ago. That's not the first time someone whose weapon was confiscated has been murdered.
The terrorists apparently pulled the victims out of the car and then verified the kill.
Abu Bluff is meeting with Clinton as I type these words. Netanyahu is on the plane to Washington. The talks won't be canceled but this should serve as a warning to those who think Israel can relax in Judea and Samaria.
UPDATE 9:50 PM
Jewish residents of the Hebron area report that the IDF has taken down many roadblocks in the area of late to make life easier for the 'Palestinians.'
The 'Palestinians' report that the IDF has placed a siege on the village of Bani Naim and has closed all entrances to Hebron in a bid to catch the terrorists.
Jennifer Rubin says Bibi should return here for the funerals.
There has been a lot of talk about a moratorium on settlements by Israel. Abbas has threatened to walk out. When do they talk about a moratorium on killing Jews? Perhaps Bibi should leave D.C. and return to Israel for the funerals of the four victims (possibly five, if indeed the woman was carrying a child). That would, maybe, refocus things.Sounds right to me.
Anyone else remember Yitzchak Rabin rushing back from Washington in March 1993 after the murder of Yehoshua Friedberg HY"D (may God avenge his blood)? Rabin came home during the shiva - putting negotiations on hold - because a group of Friedberg's friends took it upon themselves to sit shiva where his body was found, alongside the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv highway. I remember it vividly because at the time I was commuting from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv for work, and I remember seeing their campfire at the site where the body was found every night.
UPDATE 10:02 PM
Note that Moriah writes in the comments that one of the couples who was murdered had seven children. Hashem yerachem (may God have mercy upon them).
UPDATE 10:11 PM
Here are someone else's notes from a hastily assembled bloggers' conference call that I managed to miss:
My notes, feel free to use:Indeed. Apparently hundreds of bullets were used.
Lt Col Avital Leibovich:
An hour ago, we had a severe terroristic attack at Kiryat Arba - which is very close to Hebron. The info we have is that it was a civilian car. Four people that were sitting inside the car were killed, amongst them a pregnant woman. This is a very severe terroristic attack. In the past two or three years, the security sit in the WB was overall stable and this is such a vicious attack on civilians. We wish that this security situation will not deteriorate. In 2010 we had two other incidents in the WB. One of which, in Feb - an IDF warrant officer was stabbed by a Palestinian in a [port junction]?. In June, we had a policeman that was killed. Fire was opened. This was at the Al Fuar junction. Apart from those incidents in 2010 we didn’t experience an incident in which civilians are being killed.
IDF patrolling area looking for possible evidence with the police. Don’t know who was responsible.
Take some easing steps toward the Palestinians. 180 roadblocks removed from 07 until today. Drive from Jeru to Hebron, Route 60 - you won’t have even one roadblock along the way. Easing measures were necessary to strengthen stability in the area, which was stable until today.
Raising of security levels is a function of operation assessments that we have. Usually based on intel info that we have. This specific event - I’m not sure there was any raising of alerts.
If you have a vehicle and you kill all four people sitting in the vehicle, then you need an impressive amount of fire to kill all four people.
UPDATE 10:29 PM
Netanyahu has landed in Washington and his spokesman said that he has ordered the IDF to do everything possible to find the murderers. He will tell Hillary Clinton this evening that tonight's murder shows why Israel must stand on its security requirements.
Hamas took responsibility a short while ago. Hamas says it's a natural reaction to the 'occupation' and the 'settlers.' The 'Palestinian' security services say they expected this.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 1:15 AM
Welcome Jawa Report readers.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 2:03 AM
The names of those murdered have been released.
The victims were named as Yitzhak Ames, 47, and his wife Tali Ames, 45, Kochava Ben- Haim, 37, and Avishai Schindler, 24, all from Beit Hagai. The Ames couple had six children, including a oneand- a-half-year-old toddler.There will be joint eulogies for the four at 11:00 am and then the Ames will be buried on the Mount of Olives, Ben-Haim in Ashdod, and Schindler, whose body will first be taken to his parents home in Elad, will be buried in the Sgula cemetery in Petach Tikva.
But how's this for a nightmare:
Zaka volunteer Momy Ben- Haim was dispatched to the scene of the attack with his colleagues, when to his horror he discovered that his wife was among the dead.Hashem yerachem (may God have mercy).
“We saw a crying volunteer, and at first we did not understand what was happening – he has seen many disasters before,” Zaka volunteer Isaac Bernstein told The Jerusalem Post.
“Then he started shouting, ‘That’s my wife! That’s my wife!’ We took him away from the scene immediately,” Bernstein added.
Ben-Haim was taken to his home in Beit Hagai by his colleagues.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 8:25 AM
I have video here and the 'Palestinians' 'condemnation' statement with commentary here.