Murder of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin

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The killing of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin occurred on October 1, 2015 in the West Bank. A married Israeli couple from Neria, Eitam Simon Henkin, a doctoral student at Tel Aviv University who also held American citizenship, and Na'ama Henkin, a graphic designer, were shot and killed. The Henkins were driving past the town of Beit Furik, when the attack occurred. The four Henkin's children were in the van at the time of their parents' killing.[1][2]

According to a statement released by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a group affiliated with the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.[1][3] However, the investigation indicates that this attack was carried out by a Hamas cell.[4]

Assailants[edit]

  • Yahia Muhammad Naif Abdullah Hajj Hamad, shooter.[4]
  • Samir Zahir Ibrahim Kusah, the driver, has been linked to previous attacks. Over a month before murdering the Henkins, Kusah together with Hajj Hamad, fired 20 rounds at an Israeli car near Enav, injuring driver Ronen Edri.[4]
  • Karem Lufti Fatahi Razek, gunman, who himself wounded during the attack by gunfire by one of his fellow operative cell members.[4]
  • Zir Ziad Jamal Amar, who cleared the way for the car carrying the gunmen.[4]
  • Ragheb Ahmad Muhammad Aliwi, who allegedly recruited, led and instructed the other four, is a paroled militant from Nablus.[4]

Indictments[edit]

The assailants were indicted for murder, and for planning to kidnap the occupants of the car, a plan that was thwarted when Eitam Henkin tried to fight the attackers off.[4]

Context[edit]

The killing is cited as the first incident in the 2015–2016 wave of violence in Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[5][6]

Aftermath[edit]

Following the killings, Israel Defence Forces sent hundreds of soldiers in pursuit of the perpetrators of the attack, they were joined by members of the Shin Bet. Subsequently, Israeli security forces reportedly detained five members of a Hamas militant cell linked to the attack.[2][7]

Hamas praised the attack.[8] The Henkins were buried in Jerusalem.[9] The funeral was attended by thousands of Israelis, including President Reuven Rivlin and Chief Rabbi David Lau.[10]

Response[edit]

President of Israel[edit]

President Rivlin's statement condemning the murder read "Tonight, bloodthirsty murderers claimed the lives of a mother and a father, leaving their young children orphaned. The heart breaks at the magnitude of such cruelty and hatred. We will continue in our brave and unwavering fight against this cruel and heinous terrorism - of this our enemies can be sure. This is our duty, and the only way we can ensure the right of the orphans who lost their parents tonight, along with the right of all our children and grandchildren, to live with security and in peace, everywhere in the Land of Israel. We pray for the speedy recovery of the injured children - our hearts and thoughts are with them."[3]

Prime Minister of Israel[edit]

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement read "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. My heart is with the children, all of our hearts are with the children and the family. The killers knew that they were murdering a mother and father, the children were there. It has been proven again that the wild Palestinian incitement leads to acts of terrorism and murder such as we have seen this evening. I am about to speak with the Defense Minister, the IDF Chief-of-Staff and the Director of the ISA about the steps we will take not only to apprehend the murderers but also to increase security for all Israeli citizens."[3]

The New York Times quoted the Israeli Prime Minister stating "Palestinian terrorists murdered yesterday a young mother and father, leaving four little orphans. But I have to say, I have yet to hear any condemnation from President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Worse, I heard senior officials from his Fatah movement praise this action. They say this is the way to go. No, it is not the way to go. The way to go for any conceivable arrangement is to fight terrorism and to make sure that terrorism reaps no rewards."[11]

Israel's Minister for Agriculture[edit]

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel stated "This is a day of celebration of the holiday but also a difficult day for all of the people of Israel. This is a disgrace to the State of Israel. Terror continues in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount, and throughout the country."[10]

Human Rights Watch[edit]

Human Rights Watch condemned the murder, stating "The killing of a husband and wife in their car while their four children watched is a despicable act that flies in the face of law and decency. No political motive can justify targeting civilians."[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Leibowitz, Liel. "The Murder of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin." Tablet Magazine. October 2, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Goldman, Paul. "Eitam Henkin, Killed With Wife in West Bank Shooting, Was American." NBC News. October 6, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c " Statements by President Rivlin and PM Netanyahu on terror attack." Ministry of Foreign Affairs. October 1, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Winer, Stuart (19 November 2015). "Terrorists initially intended to kidnap Henkins — prosecution". Times of Israel. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  5. ^ Harel, Amos (19 October 2015). "Be'er Sheva Attack Indicates Calm Is Still Far Away". Haaretz. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Why Are Tensions Rising Between Israelis and Palestinians?". Wall Street Journal. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  7. ^ "5-man Hamas cell that killed Naama and Eitam Henkin arrested | The Times of Israel". timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Two seriously wounded in West Bank terror attack." Times of Israel.
  9. ^ "Eitam Henkin, killed alongside wife in terror attack, was a U.S. citizen." Haaretz. October 6, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "President Rivlin Joins Thousands at Funerals of Henkin Couple." The Jewish Press. October 2, 2015.
  11. ^ Hadid. Diaa. "Tensions High in West Bank After Killing of Israeli Settler Couple." The New York Times. October 3, 2015.
  12. ^ "Human Rights Watch slams 'despicable' Henkin murders." Times of Israel. October 3, 2015.