Unarmed, Trapped and Ambushed

Friday, around 7:15 local time, Palestinian terrorists—armed with grenades and rifles—attacked Jewish worshippers along "worshippers’ lane" on their way home from Sabbath prayers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Early witness reports say that unarmed families didn’t see anything different when they started off for home after prayer, yet suddenly their bodies were struck by bullets from the direction of an olive grove. Nearby Israeli soldiers attempted to save the people.

Soldiers had no idea that they were running into a trap as they chased the terrorists into a dead-end alley. Backup continued to pour in, only to be killed. Israeli television Channel One’s Military analyst Alon Ben-David said, “the rescuers were drawn into the alley blindly, with the terrorists holding the high ground and sniping at them."

When it was over 12 were killed, including Colonel Dror Weinberg, Hebron’s military commander. Weinberg, the highest-ranking officer in the area, was one of the first to rush to the scene and reportedly arrived without his bulletproof vest and helmet. 15 others were also injured. Arik Mariner, an Israeli officer recounted the horrific scene saying. "The wounded were screaming, ‘Save us,’ and I saw things … soldiers without hands, without legs, things that tear the heart."

According to Israeli soldiers, the attack came from all sides in the Palestinian controlled Abu Sneineh neighborhood; the Israelis were completely exposed. Snipers used M-16 assault rifles and threw grenades. Magen David Adom ambulances could not even reach the worshipers and soldiers for over 30 minutes because they too came under attack from Palestinian terrorists.

The head of Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shallah, relished the massacre saying on al-Jazeera television, "I extend congratulations to our heroic mujahideen… who were able to carry out this remarkable operation. It included members of the Jerusalem Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad in Palestine."

Middle-East television stations showed dancing in the streets of the Gaza Strip; Palestinian civilians broke out in celebration of the murders.