VIDEO - Mazal Ben-Ami, one of the two women who were injured during the incident in which IDF soldiers mistakenly shot and killed Rabbi Dan Martzbach Friday morning, lost her husband in a terror attack 11 years ago.
Her daughter, Yisca Marc, said, "My mother and Rabbi Dan Martzbach would drive (from Otniel) to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron every Friday morning for prayers. Usually they were joined by a friend. This week they were joined by Carmela Trabelsi, my mother's best friend." Trabelsi was moderately wounded in the incident.
- Israeli accidentally killed by IDF fire
- IDF reducing use of white phosphorus shells?
- Rabbi killed by IDF fire to receive terror victim status
Marc said Martzbach "drove relatively fast because he wanted to make it in time for the prayer session. They approached an IDF checkpoint, and the two soldiers who were manning it had received a false report regarding a suspicious vehicle. They fired two bullets into the air instead of conducting the suspect apprehension procedure."
She explained the rabbi's reaction upon hearing the gunfire: "As residents of the territories, when we hear gunfire we flee the scene as quickly as possible. (Martzbach) sped up, and the soldier, instead of yelling, firing into the air, at the tires or at the lower body – something every new IDF recruit learns - shot (the rabbi) in the head and neck. Rabbi Dan died instantly, and the vehicle swerved and hit the railing," Marc said.
Ben-Ami, who sustained light injuries, initially thought the soldiers were terrorists in disguise and contacted the police. "One of the soldiers heard her speak Hebrew, so he ran up to her and said, 'I am so sorry; I received a report'," the daughter said. "My mother told him: 'You killed the driver.' Then the soldier proceeded to talk to Carmela, and while he was talking to her a Palestinian truck passed by and struck him in the knee and back."
Shortly after contacting the police, Ben-Ami phoned her daughter to inform her of the incident. "She told me she was in a shooting attack. I arrived at the scene ten minutes later. My mother sustained shrapnel wounds to her shoulder and chest, while Carmela suffered shrapnel injuries to her pelvis and a bullet wound in the knee."
Marc said she was not angry with the soldier: "It was a human error. I can only pity him because he will carry the burden of killing an innocent man for the rest of his life."
Yisca's father, Eliyahu Ben-Ami, was killed in a terror attack just 500 meters from the scene of Friday's incident. "Dad was hit by ten bullets fired by terrorists from a moving vehicle - he didn't have a chance. Rabbi Dan was my father's best friend."
Otniel resident Yehuda Glick called for a thorough investigation. "There are many question marks. Generally, even if a suspicious vehicle does not stop, soldiers are not supposed to aim straight for the driver's head; they are supposed to shoot at the tires first," he said.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop