GANEI TAL, Gaza – A deadly shooting attack near the entrance to the Jewish communities of Gaza may have been unintentionally facilitated in part by Israel’s new policy of checking ID’s of Jews entering and leaving the area, WND has learned.
Meanwhile, the official Palestinian media has been hailing the attack as a “holy martyrdom operation.”
Dov and Rachel Kol, shot dead by terrorists (photo: Katif.net)
Around midnight Saturday, two Palestinian terrorists opened fire on a group of cars leaving Gaza via the Kissufim Crossing, the heavily guarded main checkpoint leading into the Gush Katif block of Gaza’s Jewish communities.
Grandparents Dov Kol, 58, and his wife, Rachel Kol, 53, were shot dead. Five others were wounded in the attack.
The Kols are survived by three children: Hila, 24, who has a one-month-old daughter, the Kols’ only grandchild; Tamar, 17, and Yehonatan, 15.
The Kols, residents of Jerusalem, were leaving Katif after spending the Sabbath with Rachel’s sister, who lives in the Katif neighborhood of Ganei Tal.
A few hours prior, the IDF had closed the Kisufim Junction after terrorists fired an antitank missile near its main access road. When an initial army search failed to yield the perpetrators, the IDF reopened the junction to allow hundreds of Sabbath visitors in Gush Katif to leave the area.
But the traffic leaving Kissufim was backed up because of a new policy requiring all residents and visitors entering and leaving Gush Katif to carry special permits certifying they can travel in the area.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon earlier this month declared Gaza a closed military zone in an effort to stop protesters from streaming to Gush Katif to halt next month’s evacuation plan. Jews entering the Kisifum Crossing now must brandish permits to show they live in the area or have temporary permission to visit. Soldiers run the permits through an electronic database when drivers arrive and depart to ensure visitors don’t stay longer than 72 hours.
The ID policy has been creating traffic jams on both sides of the Kissufim checkpoint since it was implemented.
Murderers of the Kols express glee at press conference prior to shooting (photo: IDF)
With the traffic almost bumper to bumper while the soldiers checked ID certificates, two terrorists, still in the area after carrying out the earlier missile attack, opened fire on the slowly moving cars, killing the Kols, and wounding five others.
Among the wounded was Ami Sheked, chief of Katif civilian security, who had rushed to the scene after the missile attack. Sheked shot and killed one of the terrorists.
“The cars caught in the ambush weren’t able to push on the gas petal because of all the traffic with the ID checks. Instead they tried to get away by going in reverse and making U-turns. But it was too late for the Kols. They were killed,” Katif spokeswoman Anita Tucker told WND.
“The ID check is absurd. It’s completely humiliating to all of us. Now it is actually placing us in danger,” she continued.
In protest of the ID policy, dozens of Katif residents the past two weeks have been walking past the Kissufim checkpoint without their ID badges. The protesters immediately turn around, but are routinely stopped by officers for lack of identification. Some are detained, while others are let through.
Saturday night, a 57-year-old Jewish woman leaving Katif to visit a cancer patient was arrested after refusing to produce her ID papers.
Her husband told reporters, “[My wife told the soldiers] there was no reason for her to have to [produce her ID] – a lawyer even told us later that even in a closed military zone, ID cards might be required in order to enter, but that there is no reason to have to identify yourself on the way out. … There’s just so much humiliation you can take.”
In a phone call to the Associated Press, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad said the shooting attack was carried out by his group, together with gunmen from the Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades and a group calling itself the Popular Resistance Committee
Sharon opened a cabinet session yesterday by declaring Israel will react “very harshly” if soldiers or Katif residents are attacked by Palestinians during the evacuation.
Multiple opinion polls have stated the Israeli public would not support the Gaza withdrawal if it is carried out under fire.
Debbie Rosen, a Katif spokeswoman, told WND, “There is no question that during the evacuation, we’ll be attacked. Every day there are mortars and rockets and there have been many shooting attacks in the area. These haven’t stopped. The attacks are only getting worse.”
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday’s deadly shooting didn’t advance the Palestinian cause.
“These attacks threaten our national security and undermine our credibility in the international arena. The Palestinian Authority will do its utmost to prevent such damaging attacks,” Abbas said.
Abbas’ state-controlled Voice of Palestine Radio and Palestinian television praised the shootings as “holy martyrdom” operations carried out by “resistance fighters” fulfilling their “civic duty.”
“Israeli military sources report at least two martyrs and three settlers dead and seven wounded in an operation at Kisufim,” declared Nizar Al-Ghul, the senior VOP radio anchorman, according to a translation provided by Dr. Michael Widlanski, an associate of Independent Media Review and Analysis.
Khaled Sukkar, the VOP news-bulletin reader, announced “the holy martyrdom of two citizens in a clash at the Kisufim Junction.”
Palestinian television praised the attack, and said the “martyrs” had “successfully fulfilled their civic duties.”
Editor’s note: “ISRAEL BETRAYED?” – the July issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine – is devoted entirely to an in-depth exploration of the controversial forced removal of thousands of Jewish residents from Gaza planned for August, and the likely creation of a Hamas-run terror state many believe will follow. Read more about “ISRAEL BETRAYED?”