Yossi Shok, 31, who was shot in the head, was taken to Hadassah Ein-Kerem hospital in the capital by helicopter, but doctors were unable to save him. Two female hitchhikers, sisters Efrat and Anat Sofer, were also traveling in the car and suffered from shock.
Shok, a resident of the Beit Hagai settlement in the south Hebron hills, left behind a wife and five children.
Yossi Shok, 35, victim of shooting attack
The Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades claimed joint responsibility for the attack, saying it came in response to recent targeted killings by Israel.
An initial examination revealed gunmen traveling in a vehicle opened fire at an Israeli car traveling on Highway 60 in the West Bank around 12:30 p.m. The attackers managed to flee the scene.
It is still unclear how many terrorists carried out the attack. Police and army forces were promptly dispatched to the scene and are scouring the area in search of the shooters.
One of the hitchhikers in the targeted vehicle, 23-year-old Efrat Sofer, told Ynet: “It was a miracle. I was supposed to take our car…but it simply didn’t start, so we hitchhiked. We were lucky we did that, because otherwise I would have lost control completely.”
“We were both sitting at the back, my sister Anat was behind the driver and I was sitting next to her,” Efrat said. “After the shooting, Anat said she saw a vehicle traveling next to us with its windows rolled down and she thought it’s strange because of the rain.”
“Following the shooting, the car continued to travel, and then I saw the driver’s head sloped to the other side,” Efrat added. “I saw there was a lot of blood on Anat. I asked her if everything is ok, and then it turned out it was the driver’s blood. I was sure that in a second they would come back and check if anyone is still alive. They would have no problem coming back and killing us, because nobody stopped next to us. I’m still in shock.”
‘Sharon personally responsible’
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is personally responsible for the shooting attack south of Hebron, Knesset Member Uri Ariel (National Union) said in response to the shooting.
“Sharon and Mofaz approved the entry of armed Palestinians into the area in order to secure (Palestinian) Authority elections despite repeated warnings this was dangerous,” Ariel said. “Sharon must immediately remove the gunmen that continue to endanger the lives of those traveling on the roads.”
Sharon and Mofaz must fight terrorism immediately “instead of attempting to engage it in dialogue,” south Mount Hebron local council head Tzviki Bar-Hai said following the attack.
“The terrorists are explaining to us in every possible way that there’s nobody to talk to,” he said.
Exactly a month ago, two young women and a boy were murdered in a shooting attack at a hitch-hiking post in the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said local Palestinian election results prove the Gaza and northern West Bank pullout boosted terrorism.
“The strengthening of Hamas in the elections only proves that the unilateral disengagement led by Sharon led to the boosting of terror,” he said.
Shani Mizrahi, Ali Waked and Ilan Marciano contributed to the story