In a joint IDF and Shin Bet operation, several suspects were arrested for their involvement in the attack against an Israeli vehicle in Ma’ale Shomron on December 25, 2014, which caused severe, life threatening burns to 11 year-old Ayala Shapira and lightly injured her father.
Shapira, who suffered third degree burns over most of her body and face and was placed into a medically induced coma, has partially recovered. She underwent surgery on Saturday and her condition has stabilized.
However, she will need to undergo a major skingraft to replace the skin on her face as well as other parts of her body due to her extensive burns, it is expected to be a long recovery process both physically and emotionally.
The suspects hail from the Palestinian village of Azzoun. During the investigation, one of the suspects, aged 16, confessed to leaving the village and approaching the road with intent to hurl Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles.
Along with an accomplice, both waited beside the road and hurled the Molotov cocktail at a passing Israeli vehicle, setting it on fire. The suspects then fled to the village of Azzoun and were arrested that night and taken for investigation.
An additional 12 people were arrested during IDF sweeps of the area searching for the two suspects, Ma’an News Agency reported.
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich, who himself was seriously wounded from a firebomb attack, visited Shapira and her family in the Sheba Medical Center. Kalmanovich was wounded in the First Intifada that spanned from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Also as a result of a Molotov cocktail attack, he suffered burns on 75 percent of his body.
“As chairperson of The Terror Victims Association I visited hundreds of families of wounded and bereaved families. But this incident is closer to my heart, even more than usual,” Kalmanovich told Arutz Sheva.
Kalmanovich had a very long rehabilitation process, a similar one that is expected for Ayala. “I wish her a full recovery in the very near future,” said Kalmanovich. During his visit Kalmanovich tried to comfort the Shapira family by using his own example of how it is possible to return to normal life even after such a horrific attack.
“It’s hard to see it when you’re dealing with the wound. There’s a long rehabilitation process, which includes physical hardships and no less important emotional (hardships), which accompany the wound which is also difficult aesthetically,” said Kalmanovich.
“But if I, with 263 percent disability function almost completely normally, I am certain that heroic Ayala will return to full function and live a normal and happy life,” the deputy mayor said.