Hundreds Attend Funeral for West Bank Settlement Stabbing Attack Victim

The Israeli military prepares to demolish home of terrorist who killed Yotam Ovadia, 31. Israeli minister eulogizing Ovadia: PA is responsible

Yotam Ovadia's funeral, Friday
Yotam Ovadia's funeral, FridayCredit: Emile Salman

Yotam Ovadia, who was killed in Thursday's stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Geba Binyamin, has been laid to rest in Jerusalem. Ovadia, 31, who was married and a father of two, was stabbed by 17-year-old Muhammed Tarek.

Tarek snuck into the settlement and hit Ovadia and two other people until he was shot to death. He succumbed to his wounds Thursday night.

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Yotam Ovadia

Members of Knesset, senior military officials, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), attended the funeral, in addition to hundreds of people.

At the funeral, Levin blamed the Palestinian Authority for the attack: "Your life was taken for one reason only, because you are Jewish. I have nothing to say to comfort you but our enemies should know that our spirit shall not break. The lowly terrorist will not achieve his goals."

UN special envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov condemned the deadly attack in a tweet, writing: "Shocked by the murder of an #Israeli man yesterday by a #Palestinian teen in the #WestBank. My thoughts and prayers go out to the bereved family. Such horrible acts serve only those who stand in the way of #peace."

Israeli military forces, the Shin Bet and border police operated Thursday night in the village of Kubar, the village where Muhammed Tarek resided. Forces interrogated his family and mapped out his house in preparation for its demolition. They took four people for further investigation. The family's permits were confiscated and workers from the village were forbidden from leaving for work.

The military said that 150 Palestinians protested the operation, threw stones and Molotov cocktails and threw burning tires at the forces, which dispersed the protest. No injuries were reported.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he had instructed the Civil Administration to act towards the authorization of 400 housing units in Geva Binyamin, also known as Adam, the West Bank settlement where the stabbing attack took place.

Despite Hamas' attempts to carry out attacks and build up infrastructure in the West Bank, there has been relative calm in the area over the past year, in contrast to the situation on the Israel-Gaza border.

A preliminary investigation revealed that he jumped over the fence that surrounds the settlement.

The IDF is checking whether or not there was any warning set off. As soon as he entered the settlement he saw two passersby and stabbed them using a knife he was carrying. A neighbor who came by saw the two wounded people. At first he thought there had been a brawl, and, once he got to the site, he understood there was a terrorist armed with a knife. He shot the terrorist with his personal weapon. During the confrontation he was lightly wounded.

Hamas said in an official statement: "This is an act of heroism and a message to all the heads of the occupation that attempts to uproot the spirit of resistance from the heart of the Palestinian people have failed and today's heroic action proves the unity of the Palestinian people and its common destiny. Yesterday three fighters were killed in Gaza and today the response has come from the West Bank."

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