“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