Sderot Teen Dies of Wounds Sustained in Qassam Strike

A 17-year-old girl who died Friday morning of wounds sustained in a Qassam rocket attack last weekend was laid to rest a few hours later in her hometown of Sderot.

Ella Abukasis, also known as Ayala Chaya, died while hospitalized at Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva and was buried at 12:30 P.M. Friday. Her family changed her name after the attack last Saturday night, following a tradition that a name change could play a role in helping her heal. Chaya means life.

"Our hearts are with the family of the Sderot teenager who died this morning as the result of a Palestinian Qassam rocket attack earlier this week," David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, said Friday. "It just goes to show that the Palestinians must take the necessary measures to stop these types of terror, and it is incumbent upon them to do so at the earliest opportunity."

Abukasis was returning home from a meeting of the Bnei Akiva religious youth group, along with her siblings and a friend, when they heard a siren warning that a rocket was approaching.

According to one eyewitness, she was trying to shield her 10-year-old brother Tamir from the Qassam when she was hit by it herself.

Abukasis suffered severe head wounds from shrapnel, and doctors pronounced her clinically dead Tuesday.

Her friend and her sister were lightly wounded, while her brother was moderately wounded.