West Bank Attack Victim Ihab Khatib 'Had a Heart of Gold'

Family describes victim's enthusiasm for service in the IDF, his desire to contribute.

The uncle of Ihab Khatib, and Israel Defense Forces soldier who was knifed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank earlier in the day, said Wednesday that "he was a boy with a heart of gold who loved to help everyone, and loved to serve in the military so he continued on even after his mandatory service was completed."

Khatib, a resident of the Druze village of Kfar Maghar, was survived by two parents, three sisters and two brothers. He was the eldest brother, and served as a non-commissioned logistics officer in the Kfir Brigade.

"We're not processing this," his uncle said Wednesday. "He left the house just this morning, after a short leave, and suddenly he's gone."

"Ihab loved his service and wanted to advance [in the military]," the uncle went on to say.

Ihab's death marks the third recent tragedy that has befallen the family, after his mother Farha lost her brother, an IDF officer, in an accident 10 years ago. During the Second Lebanon War, in 2006, Farha also lost her sister when a Hezbollah rocket hit the family home in Kfar Maghar.

The uncle said that the family was known for its contribution to Israel and its security. Ihab's grandfather is a retired Border Police officer, and one of his brothers is about to enlist in the IDF.

Ihab's family said that they got word of the incident from one of his army buddies who called the house shortly after the incident. Later, military officers came to the house to give the family the news. Many of the village residents flocked to the family's home to console them.

Fatma, one of the residents of the town, said that Ihab's mother could not process what had happened. "For her it is a third tragedy, a third blow," Fatma said. "She lost her sister only four years ago, who was the same age as her son, and now him too. The pain of the loss of her brother is added on top of all that. You can't imagine this mother's pain."