“My mother and I were watching television on the upstairs floor. Suddenly we heard shots.”
Avia, 13, recalls the night of horror at Itamar, from her bed at Petah Tikvah’s Schneider Hospital.
“I turned off the television and got under my parents’ bed. Mom went downstairs, and then it got quiet. Someone came into the room and I saw his legs. I thought it was my brother, but then he started speaking in Arabic, and I realized he was a terrorist. He shot at the rooms next door and then sat down near the bed and replaced a clip. Suddenly someone fired. It got dark in the house. I heard soldiers coming, they threw a grenade, but nothing happened. When they threw the second grenade, I was hit in the stomach, and then the terrorist went out of the room and went into the bathroom. The soldiers asked if I could see him, I said I couldn’t, and ran outside.”
“I was taken to an ambulance, and from there to a helicopter and I was flown to the hospital.”
Boaz Shabu, the father, said that on his way home from work he heard about the terror attack in Itamar. “I called home, and I called my wife’s cell phone, and there was no answer. There was no answer on my son Neria’s cell phone either. I knew that terrorist had gone into my house. At the army base I called again, this time from an unlisted phone, and then they told me that it was my house. I said that I’m the father. When I got to the house, soldiers kept turning my head around, so I wouldn’t see the bodies. I said I want to see Rachel and Tzvika, and it was a very hard sight to see.”
Boaz does not know yet whether they will stay in Itamar. “What is certain is that I will never ever go back to that house. At most, I’ll go to another house in the community,” he said. Whereas Avia said, “I don’t know if I want to go back to Itamar.”
At his room at Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer, Assael Shabu recalls the terrible night. “My brother Avishai and I were watching television. The terrorist came in and started shooting at us. The bullets hit Avishai and missed me. I hid under the pillow and that’s how I was saved. Only when the soldiers came into the house, did they find me.”
Assael, who lost his mother and three of his brothers, was seriously injured. He was evacuated to the hospital where he underwent an operation and his leg was amputated.
Yesterday, at around 6:00 a.m., Assael woke up for the first time and asked his aunt where his mother is. Later he told his aunt that he saw the soldiers rush into the house and yell, “There are dead people here.” He said he knew his brother Avishai had been killed because he could not hear him crying.
The relatives by his bedside have not yet told Assael that his mother and two other brothers were killed in the terror attack.
Today, Assael’s sister Avia is to be transferred from Schneider Hospital to Sheba Hospital, so that the two siblings can be together.
This piece ran in “Maariv” on June 23, 2002