Scene of West Bank drive by shooting that left a couple dead.
(photo credit: COURTESY UNITED HATZALAH)
Yagil Henkin, the brother of Eitam Henkin, who was shot and killed in last week's terror attack near the Itamar settlement in the West Bank, spoke out Tuesday in an interview with Army Radio, describing the moment he learned of the murder of his brother and his sister-in-law, Naama. Henkin also discussed the state of the Henkin's four children, who were present in the vehicle when terrorists murdered their parents.
Henkin's comments came a day after the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced that security forces had arrested members of a Hamas cell responsible for the attack. An investigation into the attack found that the four children were likely not hurt because one of the terrorists accidentally shot one of his partners, and they were forced to flee.
"Dealing with the question of whether the terrorists took mercy on the children seemed sick to me. There is a lot of history of terror in Israel, and there are many cases in which the children are the targets of the terrorists. The attempts to credit them for the fact that they only murdered the parents and not the children - that seemed ridiculous," he told Army Radio.
"To fixate on the fact that they killed the parents and not the children? Neither me nor you murders children on a daily basis, and we don't need to be praised for that fact. The terrorists are not Mother Teresa. Now it has become clear that this wasn't an attempt by the terrorists to send a message, violence is not a language," he added.
Yagil Henkin learned the news of his brother's murder from a friend, who learned the details of the attack before him: "I heard about the terror attack in a text message from a dear friend, who was sure that I already knew. He wrote me that it was difficult and that he would be there for me. I saw the message. A minute beforehand my mother had called me, saying there was a terror attack and that she couldn't get a hold of my brother. But I didn't know that he was in the Itamar area, so I didn't make the connection that he was involved."
"While I was still trying to figure it out, I got the message from my friend and it was clear what it meant. I asked him to confirm that my brother and sister-in-law were murdered, and from there I found out that it was true. My mother was in a similar situation afterward. When they told me and the family, it was already cleared for publication. My brother-in-law received an official announcement an hour before, but I didn't get an official announcement," he added.
Henkin said that their were flaws in the system used to send official announcements to next of kin. "It was a malfunction, and I found out from other people in similar situations that this problem has happened repeatedly. The information should be coming to the families from the police."
Speaking of his nieces and nephews, who are now orphans after the terror attack, Henkin said that they were "smart children and they are behaving in accordance with their age." He said that the children were staying with their grandparents.
The Shin Bet announced on Monday that a Hamas terrorist cell from Nablus was behind the murder of the Henkins as they drove near Itamar with their four children.
The suspects said that on the evening of October 1, two of them drove on the road near Itamar and selected a spot from which they would open fire on an Israeli vehicle.
Other suspects gathered at the site, with one operative moving ahead of them to ensure the road was clear of security forces.
“After receiving confirmation that the road was ‘clean,’ the shooting cell set off in their car, identified a vehicle belonging to the Henkin family and opened fire. After the [victims’] car stopped, two members of the cell got out of their car, and fired again, from very short range, on those in the vehicle,” the Shin Bet said.
At this stage, Razak was accidentally shot, dropping his handgun at the scene. It was recovered by security forces. The cell fled to Nablus, 5 km. away.
The suspects admitted to taking part in two other shooting attacks including the August 30 shooting and wounding of Shavei Shomron settlement resident Ronen Adri near the Jit junction, next to Kedumim.