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Photo: AFP
The scene of the attack. L to R: Erez Orbach, Shira Tzur, Yael Yakutiel, Shir Hajaj
Photo: AFP
Names of four soldiers killed in Jerusalem attack released
Erez Orbach, Yael Yakutiel, Shir Hajaj and Shira Tzur were killed in Sunday's vehicular attack in Jerusalem; the US State Department comes out against what it calls 'brutal and senseless attacks'; nationalistic right-wing group Lehava stages protest following attack and is dispersed by police.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced the names of the four soldiers killed in Sunday's vehicular terrorist attack. They are 2nd Lt. Yael Yakutiel (20) from Givatayim, whose rank was posthumously elevated to Lt.; Cadet Shir Hajaj (22) from Ma'ale Adumim, whose rank was posthumously elevated to Lt.; Cadet Shira Tzur (20) from Haifa, whose rank was posthumously elevated to 2nd Lt.; and Cadet Erez Orbach (20) from Alon Shvut, whose rank was posthumously elevated to 2nd Lt.  All their families have been informed of their deaths.

 

 

Orbach, the eldest of six children, graduated from the Neveh Shmuel Yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Efrat. The settlement issued a statement, saying, "He will be remembered for his constant smile and his willingness to assist and volunteer for any good cause."

 

The scene of the attack. Clockwise from top left: Erez Orbach, Shira Tzur, Shir Hajaj, Yael Yakutiel (Photo: AFP)
The scene of the attack. Clockwise from top left: Erez Orbach, Shira Tzur, Shir Hajaj, Yael Yakutiel (Photo: AFP)

  

Yael Yakutiel
Yael Yakutiel

 

A friend of Yael Yekutiel, who was also killed in the attack, said that Yael "had the biggest heart there was. A person full of light and happines, people like that just don't exist. Everything she did, she did for others."

 

Shira Tzur
Shira Tzur

 

"Our Shira was so full of life," said a family friend. "We'll always remember her smiling and thinking of the next challege." They expressed their condolences to Shira's family, saying, "We all fee; Shira's pain. Shira's smile and song will not be stopped."

 

Erez Orbach
Erez Orbach

 

Orbach, the eldest of six children, graduated from the Neveh Shmuel Yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Efrat. The settlement issued a statement, saying, "He will be remembered for his constant smile and his willingness to assist and volunteer for any good cause."

 

Rabbi Yaakov Fisher, who heads the yeshiva Erez studied in, remembered the person he was. "Erez was a guy full of wiilpower and motivation, very determined, but inside he was tender, gentle and sensitive, with principles and and values, who was beloved by all. Due to his health issues and a low profile score, he had to fight to enlist in the army. He was incredibly happy when he learned he got into the army. But that wasn't enough for him, so he kept fighting to go officers' course."

 

Shir Hajaj
Shir Hajaj

 

Merav Hajaj lost her daughter in the attack. "We stood by the door and prayed for them not to come," she said, adding that "She was a flower, the love of my life. This girl, we has such high hopes for her. Her determination, her willpower, they don't make them like that."

 

Shir's father Herzl wished to deliver a message to Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. Paraphrasing a common slogan among Elor Azaria supporters, who have dubbed him "Our boy," the senior Hajaj told reporters, "They are all of our kids. We send them to the army, and we know they might not return. But to tell you that I believed it would happen to me? Never."

 

US State Department condemns attack

The US Department of State has admonished the terrorist attack. "We condemn in the strongest possible terms today's horrific vehicular attack by a terrorist in Jerusalem.‎ There is absolutely no justification for these brutal and senseless attacks. We‎ condemn the glorification of terrorism now or at any time and call on all to send a clear message that terrorism must never be tolerated. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the four Israeli soldiers who were killed, and we hope for a full and fast recovery of those injured," the department's statement reads.

 

Emergency personnel evacuate injured (Photo: Gil Yohanann)
Emergency personnel evacuate injured (Photo: Gil Yohanann)

 

 

One of the cadets who opened fire on the terrorist recalled the minutes from the event. "We were on patrol, standing at an observation post in Jerusalem. We heard a boom, and when we turned around we saw a truck driving onto the sidewalk and hitting several cadets. At first we thought it was an accident, but after seeing that the driver wasn't stopping , we realized it was a terrorist attack. We ran toward the truck, I loaded my rifle with a magazine and began shooting."

 

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

  

The attack
The attack

 

Nationalistic right-wing group Lehava, a Hebrew acronym standing for "the Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land," staged a protest at East Talpiot. Police dispersed them and took two activists into custody for allegedly blocking the street.

 

Elisha Ben Kimon, Yael Freidson, Liran Levy, Itay Blumental and Yoav Zitun contributed to this report.

 


First published: 08.01.17, 21:38
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