Israel Resource Review 28th April, 2002


Anatomy of a Murder: When PLO Killers Randomly Attacked Jewish Families:
Terror in the Bedroom: the Attack on Adora
Roni Shaked and Yuval Karni, Correspondents
Yediot Ahronot

The sight left behind the murder spree carried out by two terrorists who infiltrated Adora yesterday were unbearable. Children's beds soaked in blood, a double bed entirely covered with blood and bodies, blood on the floor, walls with bullet holes. Even the most hardened soldiers and journalists who came, those who have already been to terror attack sites, stood shocked at the horrors of the massacre. This bloody campaign cost four lives: five-year-old Danielle Sheffi, Arik Becker, 22, Katya Greenberg, 45 and Yaakov Katz, 50.

The Sabbath began yesterday just like any other Sabbath in the settlement of Adora, which is located in the western Hebron hills. Quiet and serenity. The religious men were in synagogue, and those who are not religious were in their homes, resting on the Sabbath.

But at that very same time two terrorists from the El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's military wing, were making their way to the settlement. In an attempt to confuse the reservists who were guarding the settlement, the terrorists wore IDF uniforms and black flak jackets, and were armed with an M-16 and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. They cut the fence on the perimeter of settlement to the east and moved in. A guardpost that was manned by volunteers had stood at the site of the cut in the fence until a week before, but it had been abandoned since. The perimeter fence of the settlement is not electronic and, as a result, no one knew that a cut in the fence had been made. It became evident subsequently that the element of surprise allowed the terrorists to stay in the settlement for about 15 minutes. That quarter of an hour came at a very high price.

The killing spree started a short time after 9:00 a.m. One of the terrorists walked into the Sheffi family's home. He began to go from room to room. In the children's room he found five-year-old Danielle, but he mercilessly pulled the trigger. Little Danielle was killed. Her two brothers, four-year-old Eliad and two-year-old Uriel, were injured. He then moved on to the mother, Shir. The mother, injured and in shock, pushed her children under their beds and called the police to call help.

But the murder spree continued in the meantime. The terrorist's next stop was the Harari family home. Fortunately, the terrorist failed to enter the house, and instead shot out all the windows. At the time of the shooting the only person in the house was Anat, who was injured by the gunfire. "I lay down in the bathroom and I heard the shots continuing," she recounted. "That entire time I was on the phone with my parents and I screamed, 'It's a terror attack' and that I was being shot at."

Meanwhile, the second terrorist went down the next road and knocked on the door of Baruch Eliezer's house. "I opened the shutter on the second floor and suddenly a spray of bullets was fired," recounted Baruch. "I pulled my Uzi out of the closet, yelled to my wife to get into the shower, and we locked the house. The terrorist ran from one window to the next and fired into the house." The terrorist failed to enter the house and moved on to the Greenbergs' home. There, on the second floor of the house, he found Vladimir and his wife Katya asleep in bed. The terrorist shot them where they lay. Katya was killed and Vladimir was injured. The terrorist then ran out to the woods nearby, where he met up with the second terrorist.

The local security team arrived just then at the woods and entered. They saw the two terrorists among the trees, but mistakenly assumed they were IDF soldiers and called out to them, "Don't shoot, we're from the settlement." The response was gunfire in their direction. Arik Becker was killed by this gunfire and another individual was injured.

A police car arrived on the scene there, under the command of Insp. Ilan Finkelstein. The terrorists opened fire on the police car, and the policemen inside jumped out and joined the security team in pursuit of the terrorists. At that point, the terrorists decided to flee. They ran into the street, where residents were standing, and opened fire. In these bursts of fire Yaakov Katz was killed. The terrorists ran in the direction of the hole in the fence, and from there fled in the direction of the village Tufah. IDF troops that arrived on the scene began to comb the area with the help of helicopters, APCs and infantry troops. They picked up on the terrorists and went in pursuit, killing one.

The commander of the Yehuda Division, Brig. Gen. Amos Ben-Avraham, said the "response of the security team confined the incident to only four or five houses and caused the terrorists to flee."

This article ran in Yediot Ahronot on April 28, 2002

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Shiri Sheffi: "I Pushed the Terrorist and Saw Danielle's Last Breaths"
Eli Bohadana
Correspondent, Maariv

"The terrorist stood in the bedroom doorway and started shooting at us. I ran to him, pushed him out, locked the door and got under the bed with the children. And then I saw my daughter, Danielle, five years old, take her last breathes after being hit by a bullet in the head." This is the chilling description given by Shiri Sheffi, 29, of Adora, who with heartrending sobs recounted the terrible tragedy that befell her family on Saturday morning.

Her two sons, Uriel, 1, and Eliad, 4, were lightly injured, and they are hospitalized together with her in Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital. The mother said that after she pushed the terrorist he kept firing at the door and at the other rooms.

Her husband, Yaakov, 31, a police officer in the Hebron police, was at the synagogue at the time, along with other members of the community. Shiri and the children stayed home. "We heard shots and at first we didn't understand what's going on. We peeked out the synagogue's windows and I saw smoke coming form my house. I realized it was a terror attack and ran home," said Yaakov, embracing and caressing Uriel.

"Twenty meters away from me I saw two armed men wearing flak jackets. I didn't know that these were the terrorist, and I asked them what was going on. They fired at me and the bullets whistled by my head and legs. My gun was at home, so I immediately ran from there to the neighbors. I yelled, 'Terrorists, terrorists! Come and help. Terrorists have infiltrated the community,'" Yaakov recalls with a shaking voice.

"I reached the neighbors' house and tried to find out what's happening to my wife and three children. I asked them for a gun to run home but they pulled me inside. I yelled at them, 'There are terrorists. I want to help my wife and children.' But they pushed me into the house by force and said they would handle it. Then I saw Yaakov Katz running in the direction of my house with a gun. The terrorists killed him too. Yaakov is divorced and has one child. His ex-wife lives in the United States," continued Sheffi.

For many nerve-wracking minutes Yaakov did not know the fate of his family. "I saw my wife being taken out of the house on a stretcher and ran to her. She said to me, 'They killed our daughter.' I saw my two boys, also on a stretcher, crying. It was horrible. Difficult. A terrorist enters a bedroom, sees small children and their mother playing in bed and fires at them mercilessly and with no distinction. Fires at the head of such a lovely girl, so pretty and perfect," added Sheffi.

"From now on, the spilt blood of my daughter is upon the hands of all the people of the Palestinian Authority. Danielle, who never did wrong to anyone and who was taught to love all people, including Arabs, and to respect everyone. And now comes this human scum, looks her in the eye and pulls the trigger to kill. In her parents' bedroom the place that is supposed to be the safest place for her," a very pained Yaakov Sheffi told Ma'ariv.

This article ran in Maariv on April 28, 2002

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The Eyes of a Five-Year-Old Girl
Hanoch Daum
Columnist, Maariv

What does a five-year-old girl say to a uniformed adult who enters her room abruptly? What does she think, innocent as she is, of an unknown man who comes armed into her nursery on the Sabbath morning? Does she even know that there is a force in the world that wishes to kill even her, a kindergartener in a community near Kiryat Gat? Did she even have a chance to call out to her mother?

Anyone who, even today, after a year and a half of unprecedented terrorism, dares claim that our actions caused the terrorists to act like scum needs psychiatric treatment. There is the Palestinian problem, and it is a serious problem that should be solved by separation, and then there is the crazed religious terrorism from which we suffer, a terrorism that is completely unrelated to human reason. Merely as a reminder, it should be noted that there were days when we did not occupy any lands and still we were massacred, including our women, children and old folk. It is time that we internalize what our sages have said: Esau simply hates Jacob. It is a matter of empirics.

A diplomatic horizon is of no interest to the types of people who are prepared to snuff out the laughing eyes of a little girl. There is no room, nor will there ever be room, for talking with people who want to perpetrate a suicide bombing in a hospital. When we talk, it will be with the society that will develop in Palestinian Authority territories after the extensive and prolonged blow that the IDF will deal. It will be a society that will know very well that through might it will only be able to bring ruin upon itself.

Although Operation Protective Wall did not ensure an airtight solution to the situation (no one thought it would), it certainly proved that it is possible to embarrass the murderers in their homes instead of allowing them to seem like heroic characters when they come to destroy coffee shops. Therefore, the army must quickly enter the area from which the murder spree originated (Hebron), and do also there what has been accomplished surprisingly well in other areas. Incidentally, the operation can be dedicated to Terje Larsen, with love.

This article also ran in Maariv on April 28, 2002

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