A senior police officer was murdered, his pregnant wife (28) wounded and one of their sons (9) was lightly wounded right before the Passover holiday by Arab terrorists who shot them as they were on their way to the holiday festivities. The deadly attack occurred Monday afternoon on highway 35, west of Hebron.
The family was traveling from their home in Modi’in to Hebron to celebrate the Passover seder meal with family in Hebron.
A civilian who was in one of the cars who were shot at told Tazpit News Agency he saw one terrorist firing at them. “He kept on firing and missed. We hit the gas and got away. We saw police on the way and notified them. We then met soldiers and blocked the road so no one else would get hurt,” he said.
The IDF is still searching for the terrorists. There are reports of an arrest made in connection with the attack.
The victim has been identified as Baruch Mizrahi, a 47-year-old father of five children who served in several senior positions in Israel’s military and police intelligence forces. Mizrahi served in the military for 25 years and in June 2011, was drafted into the police force where he served as head of the technology department in the police intelligence unit.
“This is a loss for his family first and foremost, and a great personal and professional loss to the force and the department, to the police force and to the state of Israel,” Mizrahi’s commander said.
“Beyond being a first-rate professional, he was a true friend who volunteered for every mission with dedication and faith, and lent a sympathetic ear to those under his command, to his colleagues and to his commanders. His presence could not be missed. Baruch devoted his entire life to his two great loves – his family, and the State of Israel,” his commander continued.
Baruch Mizrahi’s pregnant wife, Hadas, who was injured in the attack, was rushed to the Sha’arei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem with their 9-year-old son who was in a second vehicle. The son was wounded by shrapnel and was operated overnight Monday and released on Tuesday. Hadas suffered broken bones and after being informed of her husband’s death, was being treated for shock.
According to an initial investigation by the IDF, the shooter approached Route 35 by foot, near the Palestinian village of Idhna. He fired several dozen rounds from a Kalashnikov automatic weapon from a distance of several meters on passing cars.
PM Netanyahu blamed the Palestinian Authority for the attack, saying it is a result of their incitement. Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said that every terrorist release emboldens the terrorists, and demands the government cancels all future releases, and makes the cancelling of any PA steps at the UN a precondition to continuing any peace talks.
Yesha Council spokesman Yigal Dilmoni told Tazpit News Agency that he links this latest attack directly to the release of terrorists by the Israeli government as part of the peace negotiations with the PA.
”The Israeli government is currently engaging the Palestinians in an attempt to get them back to the negotiations table. While we are debating the release of tens of terrorists for no reason, there are those who view this as a sign of weakness: the terror organizations who are trying to resurge and re-enter the dark times during which the citizens of Israel feared to leave their homes” he said.
“Since the beginning of the latest round of talks with the PA, during which terrorists were released, terrorism has been on the rise. 4 Israelis were murdered during 2013, after which during 2012 there were no negotiations and Israel had no casualties at all. We are at the beginning of 2014 and again the terror is responding to PA incitement and its demand of mass release of terrorists, harming an Israeli family on its way to the Seder. We must not succumb to the reckless demands made by the Palestinians.”
Yochai Damary, Head of the Hebron Hills Regional Council in which the attack occurred, pointed out the absurd of the situation, as he views it: “The terrorists executed his attack in broad day light, with no fear. Now the security forces, in an effort to capture the terrorists, are making a house to house search. This is absurd! Our soldiers are risking themselves to catch terrorists who may later be released in the next deal. This ridiculous situation must be stopped,” Damary urged.
“I call on the prime minister and minister of defense not to be satisfied with verbal condemnations and exact a political price for the blood spilled. The terrorists’ objective was to take life and the response should be to add life in our region by declaring sovereignty, building and bringing more Israelis. This is the response to such a heinous crime. This response must be immediate and will deter terrorists from such actions in the future. This is our response to terror – to add life,” he said.