The 16-year-old who was critically wounded by a Hamas anti-tank missile fired at a school bus earlier this month died yesterday.

His condition had been reported as deteriorating five days ago at the intensive care unit of the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva.

Daniel Wipliech was wounded 10 days ago when the Kornet missile fired out of Gaza hit the Israeli school bus.

The missile was fired just minutes after nearly all the students on the bus had gotten off at an earlier stop.

"To our great regret, Daniel passed away this afternoon," Prof. Shaul Sofer, head of the pediatric intensive care unit at Soroka, said yesterday.

"It comes as no surprise. He arrived in critical condition, and his brain quickly stopped functioning. We continued to treat him because of the sensitivity of the situation, even though we knew there was no chance of recovery," he added.

"Daniel came in with no blood pressure, after having been resuscitated. Shrapnel was lodged in his brain, which caused him to stop breathing," Sofer said. "His blood pressure dropped and his brain received no oxygen."

Wipliech's father, Yitzhak, thanked the medical staff and everyone who has supported the family. "Daniel fought but he passed away in calm," he said.

"I'm certain he is in a better place, and I thank all those who prayed and supported us all over the world. With God's help, may they know no sorrow. Now I only ask for quiet. We cannot control life and death."

Wipliech lived in Beit Shemesh and studied at the city's Torat Eliyahu Yeshiva. He had hitched a ride on the bus on his way to visit his grandmother in the western Negev.

Beit Shemesh synagogues have held prayer sessions for him since the attack.