Doctors continued to fight for the life of 11-year-old Ayala Shapira Thursday evening, after she was seriously wounded after a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the car in which she and her father were traveling in near the settlement of El Matan in the West Bank. The attack came a month after the girl's mother was targeted in a similar attack, but managed to escape unscathed.
Describing the attack, the young girl's father, Avner, said from his hospital bed: "We saw him from the top of the road, lighting the firebomb and hurling it."
The father described how his daughter escaped the vehicle by herself, but was severely wounded nonetheless: "I shouted to my daughter to get out and she was able to do so. We were able by the grace of God to get out of the car, but she was much more seriously wounded than I was. We hope that the hospital staff will be able to return her to her previous state."
At around 6:30 pm IDF forces, MDA paramedics, firefighters and the police received a call about a burning car, which the report said was hit by a Molotov cocktail thrown by Palestinians. The young girl, who suffers from third degree burns to 30 to 40% of her body, mostly to her face and upper torso, was evacuated to the hospital along with her father, who suffered burns to his limbs.
Avner said that the two were on their way home, and had been travelling on the road that connects Maale Shomron with the settlement of El-Matan, where they live. He noted that his wife underwent a similar attack on the same road last month when a Molotov cocktail was hurled at her vehicle. Fortunately, she was not wounded, but damage was caused to her car.
The young girl's mother, Ruth, said: "Ayala is a very special girl. She is an exceptionally smart child, who was on her way home from a program for youth gifted in mathematics at the Bar-Ilan University. They were hit by a Molotov cocktail at a spot where they already threw firebombs at us in the past – that time it was at me, and the only damage was to the car – this time the vehicle was burned to the ground."
The mother said that she had been able to speak with her daughter after the attack, and that she had told her details of the incident: "The Molotov cocktail fell directly on her and caught fire. She managed to free herself from the car and roll to the floor. If she wasn't such a resourceful girl, we wouldn't have been able to have that conversation."
She further added: "My husband called and said: 'Call the security center, they threw a Molotov cocktail at us and it's not like last time'. I did not know at first that they were wounded, but only that the vehicle was burned."
Yossi Dagan, the acting head of the Samaria Regional Council, said: "This reality in which residents who travel in the center of the country can die from a Molotov cocktail is intolerable."
The young girl's grandfather, Michael Bronstein, said: "The officer told us that our granddaughter rolled on the ground to put out the fire, and she acted correctly. Since the car was completely burnt, they had no way to call for help, and they walked home to call an ambulance."
The grandfather added: "We are not afraid to drive on these roads. A month ago, the exact same thing happened to my daughter in the same area and the army did not do anything. I am angry at those who do not understand that this is a war and treat such events as if they were criminal activities."
Sara Eliash, the father's aunt, said that stiffer measures were needed to bring an end to such attacks: "It's inconceivable that on our way home we have to worry and try to determine which route is safer. This situation is absurd and the defense minister must instruct the IDF to calm the area and create a sense of security for those who travel the roads of Judea and Samaria."
Professor Eyal Winkler, Director of the Plastic Surgery Department at the Sheba Medical Center, said that the medical staff had immediately carried out resuscitation procedures. "There is danger to her life, and teams of plastic surgeons and pediatric intensive care physicians are continuing to treat her. We will make every effort to safely return her in good condition to her family," Winkler said
Massive IDF forces arrived at the area shortly after the paramedics and begun searching for the perpetrators in the area between Ma'ale Shomron and the Palestinian town of Qalqilya.
Head of the regional firefighters services, Yossi Dahri, told Ynet that "we arrived as quickly as we could and saw the burning car. We evacuated the girl, who had massive burns, as fast as we could."