In an unmistakable message to participants in the upcoming Washington Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, four people were gunned down tonight at 7:30pm Jerusalem Time in Kiryat Arba, down the road from my house in Efrat. I can hear the siren screams of the security vehicles responding.
The Jerusalem Post reports that two men and two women, one of whom was pregnant, were gunned down at close range in a roadside ambush.
Four Israelis were killed as terrorists opened fire at an Israeli vehicle near Kiryat Arba in Hebron Tuesday evening.
Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene of the shooting and declared all four victims dead; two men aged 25 and 40 and two women aged 25 and 40. Paramedics added that one woman may have been pregnant. All four are residents of the Beit Hagai.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, "Shot were fired from close range at the vehicle at approximately 7:30 p.m. All four occupants of the vehicle were shot dead. The area has been cordoned off by Border Police, Judea and Samaria Police and the IDF. Security forces are searching for the attackers."
Arutz Sheva reports that the attackers made sure their victims were dead execution style.
Emergency service paramedics could do nothing to save the victims whose bodeis were riddled with numerous bullets. The terrorists reportedly made sure their victims were dead by shooting them from close range after the initial fusillade.
According to initial reports, the victims are members of one family, and one of them is a pregnant woman. The IDF is combing the area, searching for the terrorists.
YNET NEWS reports that when informed of the attack, Palestinian Security Forces assigned the blame to Hamas.
A Palestinian security official said that a Hamas cell is believed to be behind the lethal attacks. He noted that the last attack in the Hebron region, which left an Israeli police officer killed, was also the work of Hamas.
Meanwhile, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) told Ynet Tuesday's shooting attack was a message to the Palestinian negotiating team ahead of the resumption of direct talks with Israel.
"They should not have embarked on this move without the support of the Palestinian people," PRC Spokesman Abu Mujahid said. "Our people still espouse the resistance and do not believe in the fictitious talks scheduled to commence tomorrow. "
Following the attack, security forces across the nation were ordered to go on the highest alert ahead of the possibility of further attacks.
For the last several weeks, Palestinian officials have been ramping up their rhetoric in advance of their expected scuttling of the coming talks. As the talks approach, their tone, including that of Abbas, has been increasing in pitch and fervor.
Palestinian Media watch reported that with PA President Abbas in the audience,
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash in his Friday sermon threatened that "Jerusalem can ignite a thousand and one wars" and that unless Jerusalem "returns" to the Palestinians, "its owners," and unless it becomes the capital of the Palestinian people, "there is no peace."
The Minister also warned that "If Jerusalem is dishonored, if Jerusalem is disgraced, if [Jerusalem] is lost, it may leave the door open to all possibilities of struggle, all possibilities of war. The term 'war' cannot be erased from the lexicon of this region as long as Jerusalem is occupied..."
In the meantime, four people are dead in the Gush. So much for partners in peace.