IDF rings Palestinian villages in search of terrorists who killed Israeli couple

The Israeli couple killed were identified as Eitam and Na'ama Henkin from the West Bank settlement of Neria.

October 2, 2015 00:49
The Israeli couple killed were identified as Eitam and Na'ama Henkin

The Israeli couple killed were identified as Eitam and Na'ama Henkin from the West Bank settlement of Neria. (photo credit: Courtesy)

A Palestinian terrorist shot dead an Israeli couple in an attack on their car near Nablus on Thursday night, between Elon Moreh and Itamar.

Their four young children survived without injury in the bullet-riddled vehicle.

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Magen David Adom paramedics and soldiers pulled the children out of the car near the Palestinian village of Beit Furik.

The boys, aged four months, four years, seven and nine years, saw their parents shot dead in front of them.

The victims were identified as Eitam, 31, and Na'ama Henkin, 30, from the settlement of Neria, in the Binyamin region of the West Bank. Eitam’s mother Channa, who is from the United States, heads the Nishmat seminary for women in Jerusalem.

The couple will be buried in Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuchot cemetery

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had just finished addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, told reporters, “This is a difficult day for the State of Israel."

“We are witness to an especially heinous and shocking murder in which parents were murdered, leaving four young orphans.
Footage from scene of West Bank shooting

“My heart is with the children, all of our hearts are with the children and the family,” said Netanyahu who held telephone consultations with the defense minister, the IDF chief of staff and the head of the Shin Bet.

IDF soldiers ringed the northern West Bank village of Huwara as well as other townships near Nablus in search of the perpetrators of the attack. At numerous locations in Judea and Samaria settlers blocked roads to protest the killings.

MDA paramedic Boaz Malka said, “It was a very difficult scene. We saw a car in the middle of the road, and next to it, a man in his 30s lay on the ground with gunshot wounds on his upper body. A woman sat inside the car, with severe wounds on her upper body. They had no vital signs and to our sorrow we had to pronounce them dead at the scene.”

It remains unclear whether the shots were fired from a moving vehicle, or whether terrorists laying in ambush had targeted the car.
There were no eyewitnesses besides the children. Security personnel hope to be able to speak to them to piece together an account of the shooting.

“A large-scale search is under way,” a senior security source said. “Our forces know how to track down the perpetrators.”

The IDF had no concrete intelligence alerts for this area prior to the attack; only a general security alert was in place.

The army believes that the same terrorist cell that struck on Thursday may have been responsible for an attack nearby by on August 30, when an Israeli civilian sustained a gunshot wound to the hand in a drive-by shooting.

A gunman in a vehicle fired shots at the driver at the Jit junction, before speeding away. An IDF guard at the nearby Efraim Territorial Division base evacuated the man to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba. The army said the man was lightly wounded.

On Thursday, Hamas praised the “heroic terror attack” and called for more “quality attacks.”

“Zionists will pay the price for Netanyahu’s criminal policies everywhere,” the group said.
More footage from scene of attack

Many on the Right blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday for the attack, after he said the PA is no longer committed to upholding the Oslo Accords.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “This murderous terror attack this evening is a clear continuation of the incitement against the State of Israel and its civilians, and repeated attempts to carry out terror attacks.

“The war against terrorism requires determination from us, a steel hand, and patience. We are fighting against a bloodthirsty relentless enemy, and with great sorrow we sometimes absorb losses on the way. At this time, the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) are pursuing the murderers.

“We will pursue them and we will not be silent until we place our hands on the murderers, and those who sent them.”

The IDF ordered four battalions to join existing forces in the West Bank after the terrorist attack, following a security evaluation by the General Staff on Thursday night.

The first of the extra units will begin arriving on Friday to assist in searches for the terrorists and ensure IDF control of the area, and prevent a deterioration of the security situation.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the chairman of Bayit Yehudi, said Abbas’s “call to battle was implemented tonight in Israel, and it is red from blood.
More footage from scene of attack

“A nation whose leaders encourage murder will never have a state, and that needs to be said clearly. The time of talk is over; this is the time for actions,” Bennett said.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, also from Bayit Yehudi, also said the terrorist attack was a result of Abbas’s speech, saying the deaths are his responsibility alone and he should be brought to justice.

“The response to the terrible murder must be annexation of Area C and expanding construction in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria,” Ariel said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said Abbas “incites and the area is incited – that is how the murderous system works, which drives murderous terrorism in Judea and Samaria. Such events are further proof that the Palestinians do not want peace, only hatred, and do not want a discourse, just incitement to hatred.”

Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) said: “Twenty-four hours after the violent speech of the mass murderer Abbas, a husband and wife were killed in Israel. With every word, Abbas encourages the murder of Jews... He inherited the way of terrorism from Arafat and continues his criminal way of cutting off innocent lives.”

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid called the attack a “direct continuation of Abbas’s policy of incitement and lies.

“You cannot say you’re promoting peace and accept terrorist acts and murder of innocent people, parents killed in front of their small children,” Lapid said. “The wretched terrorists must know that they are not immune and they will pay a heavy price for their actions... In this war, there can be no compromises.”

The Almagor Terrorism Victims Association said, “The hands that murdered the parents are of a Palestinian terrorist cell, but the mouth is of Abbas and his people in a series of speeches and interviews from New York to the Mukata [presidential headquarters in Ramallah], threatening to break security agreements.”

“When the commander of the Palestinian forces openly threatens reduced security for Israeli citizens and Fatah holds demonstrations against Israel and burns Israeli flags, the message is clear: Harm Jews,” Almagor chairman Meir Indor said.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said the murders are “despicable and very painful.”

“At this point, we have to allow the IDF and security forces to act swiftly and determinedly to catch the murderers, to bring them to justice and to do what is necessary in the field,” Herzog said.

MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) said after the attack that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “big on talk and small in actions,” and called on him to “stop bragging and start acting to eradicate terrorism and strengthen security for all Israelis and to bring a diplomatic agreement that will not allow the creation of a binational state that will endanger Jewish lives.”

The Joint List did not respond to a request for comment.

Noam Amir/Ma’ariv Hashavua contributed to this report.

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