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