Distressing details revealed in Henkin murder investigation
The struggle over a pistol, the murder and the children that witnessed it all: About a month ago, the Hamas members who shot Naama and Eitam Henkin dead in front of their children were arrested. Transcripts from the investigation are now coming to light.
Five Hamas operatives were arrested last month for their part in the murder of Naama and Eitam Henkin in the West Bank. Three of them carried out the attack: Karam Razaq (known by his nickname "Al Matzar"), Samir Kusa (known as "Abu Zuhair") and Yahya Haj Hamed.
Samir was the driver. In the month leading up to the attack he covered the license plates of the car so that it could not be identified. Yahya, the leader of the group, brought the weapons and was the one who pulled the trigger during the attack. Karam was one of the lead organizers and the one who was originally holding the pistol.
The chilling descriptions they gave during the investigation, revealed here for the first time, touch on the planning of the attack and Eitam Henkin's attempts, while he was bleeding, to fight off one of the attackers. Henkin managed to take the attacker's weapon before being murdered at point-blank range.
Then, as the smell of gunpowder faded in the air, they describe the stares of the small children who witnessed their parents being murdered from the back seat of the car.
According to the investigation, Yahya Haj Hamed organized the attack and shot dead both Eitam and Naama. During his interrogation he admitted all of his actions and said that the murder was revenge for the arson in Duma that took place in July.
Yahya explained that he took an M16 rifle and a pistol that he passed to Karam. They met Samir and took to the road in order to look for Israeli vehicles. This happened after they had already done an earlier tour of the area to see if any army patrols were around.
"I asked Samir to drive around in a horseshoe shape," Yahya said while describing the moment at which they saw the Henkin family's car. "I then asked him to overtake the car and while he was overtaking, fired from the M16. I shot 10 or 15 automatic rounds.
"At the same time the car stopped and so did we. I got out of the car, took the cartridge out of the gun and inserted the second cartridge," Yahya said.
"I went to the woman that was sitting next to the driver. I opened the door in order to see who was sitting there and I saw her. She was sitting there with no injuries but then I saw at that moment the guy started to struggle with Karam. I automatically fired several bullets. I fired in the direction of the man who was killed on the spot," Yahya continued. "I also hit Karam at the same time. The pistol fell to the ground.
"I was attacked by the woman and then I shot a few bullets at her and killed her," Yahya added.
Yahya then told how they noticed the children in the rear seat. "I saw three or four children inside the car. I didn't shoot at them," he said. "We escaped and left the pistol where it was."
After the attack the group went to dress Karam's hand, that Yahya said was hit by a bullet during the attack. He then spoke with one of his associates, who suggested that he "drink a cocktail."
The day after, IDF troops arrived to arrest them, Yahya said.
Razaq corroborated the details in Yahya's story. He said he was approached by Yahya and agreed to attack Israelis, but asked that he not be the one shooting. Yahya eventually told him they would commit a shooting attack, he said, but not where it would occur.
Razaq said Yahya shot into the Henkins' car as they were driving in the opposite direction. He said that after the shooting, he and Yahiva got out of their car to look inside the Henkins' car.
"I went to the driver's seat door to see what happened to him and noticed the door was slightly open," he recalled. "I opened it all the day and then the driver tried with all his might to grab the gun from me. Yahya, who went to the other door, shot him." This was when, he said, he was wounded in the arm.
"I am certain that Yahya saw the children," said Razaq. "After the attack we didn't talk about the children." Like Yahya, Razaq said he committed the attack in revenge for the killing of the Dawabshehs, the Palestinian family allegedly killed by extremist Jews.
At the end of Razaq's questioning, he said he regretted his participation in "the murder of innocent civilians."
The third member of the cell that committed the attack, Samir Kusa, is a taxi driver from Nablus who claimed he had once attempted a terror attack on a vehicle. On the day of the Henkin murder, said Kusa, they put black stickers on their car's license plates.
"When we arrived at the junction we saw a car coming from the direction of Alon Moreh and knew it was a settler's car," he said. "I turned the car around and passed the other car. Karam and Yahya got out with their faces masked. The screams began, and then the shooting. After that they got into the vehicle and told me to get out and I quickly got out. Karam shouted that he was wounded in the arm. I went on to the checkpoint towards Nablus."
Samir said that after the murders, Yahya had commented that he had seen children in the back and left them unhurt. Samir admitted in another round of questioning that in 2003-4 he helped bring wanted men from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade into Israeli territory.