Scene of the murder in Nesher.
Scene of the murder in Nesher. Photo by Hagai Freid
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A 49-year-old man shot his wife to death on Sunday and seriously wounded her 12-year-old son before killing himself.

The man was identified as Eliyahu Yihya. His wife, Bat Sheva Yihya, was pronounced dead at the scene by a Magen David Adom ambulance crew. Her son by a previous marriage was evacuated to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where he underwent surgery and was declared out of danger.

On Sunday afternoon police arrived at the Yihyas' apartment on Netiv Hacarmel Street in Nesher, near Haifa, after they received a report of shots fired. The initial police investigation revealed that Yihya had been a guard at the Shatta Prison near Afula and had left the Israel Prison Service six years ago for personal reasons.

The police were called to the scene by Bat Sheva's 12-year-old nephew, who said: "I heard booms and I thought they were planes. Then I saw my cousin running at me all bloody. I thought he was playing a joke on me and then he said Eli had shot him," the cousin said, referring to Eliyahu Yihya. "I called Magen David Adom but I knew they wouldn't believe me," the boy said.

Paramedics arrived, though, and one of them, Eran Zisman, said the woman was found unconscious in the yard. Her son was lying next to her with multiple bullet wounds. "We started advanced treatment immediately and took the boy to the hospital," said Zisman. The man was found inside the house with a bullet wound to the head, and, like his wife, was pronounced dead at the scene. The commander of the Zevulun police station, Benny Aviliya, said: "The suspect apparently committed suicide and did not leave a note. We don't know the circumstances behind the situation, but we believe it was a spontaneous act." Aviliya said he hoped that when the injured boy is feeling better he will be able to shed light on what happened. According to Aviliya, the police are unaware of prior violence within the family.

Bat Sheva and Eliyahu Yihya were married for two years. The wife's father, Shimon Ben-Lulu, who lived near the couple, heard the shots and came to see what was happening. Then he saw his daughter and told her to run away - but she said she could not. "I embraced her," said Ben-Lulu. "I can't believe that I embraced her and now I have to bury her."

He said he saw his grandson trying to escape through a window and shouting, "don't kill me," and then he saw the boy being shot through the chest area and in the arms.

Bat Sheva Yihya's brother, Shalom Ben-Lulu, whose son called the police after the shooting, said the Yihyas were a normal family and that no one knew of any violence between them. "I really don't know why he murdered her," the brother said. A family friend, Oded Azoulay, who also said he was unaware of anything thing out of the ordinary in the Yihyas' family relationship, added: "Maybe the guy went crazy for a minute and did it. It's very sad what happened, sad what's happening in our country."