Residents of the Arab village of Maghar are mourning the murder of local IDF soldier Ihab Khatib Wednesday, and stressing that they will continue to serve the state loyally despite discrimination against them.
Sergeant-Major Ihab Khatib, 28, from the Kfir Brigade, was knifed to death at the Tapuach junction in the West Bank earlier Wednesday.
The killer, who was nabbed at the scene, served as a senior Palestinian security officer.
Many residents arrived at the Khatib family home to comfort the parents.
"Our village has sadly 'contributed' many soldiers to the security of the State of Israel," one of the visitors said.
"Even if there are disagreements among us, and despite the instances of discrimination and oppression, we will all continue to enlist and contribute to the country in which we live, and for whose continued existence we pray."
3rd tragedy for familyThe tragedy that befell the Khatib family was the third of its kind within the past few years. Ten years ago Ihab's uncle, an IDF officer, was killed during an operation in the Jordan Valley.
Four years ago, during the Second Lebanon War, his aunt died when a Katyusha rocket hit her home in Maghar, located in the eastern Galilee region.
Saliman Khatib, Ihab's uncle, told Ynet the family had learned of the attack early on, but the victim's identity was only revealed to them later on.
"Ihab was a golden boy, very modest, who knew how to contribute to the army as well as to his family," he said. "This is a huge tragedy and very difficult to digest."
The soldier is survived by his parents, two brothers, and three sisters. His funeral has not yet been scheduled, but it is expected to take place tomorrow at the military cemetery in the village.