Two of the Four Victims of Otniel Attack Were Soldiers

Four victims still hospitalized after Friday's Islamic Jihad shooting attack; both gunmen killed.

Two of the four victims of Friday night's shooting attack at the West Bank settlement of Otniel were soldiers, it emerged Saturday. Nine other people were wounded when an armed Palestinian militant infiltrated the settlement.

The four - Private Yehuda Bamberger, 20, from Karnei Shomron; Staff Sergeant Noam Apter, from Shilo; Zvi Ziemen, 17, from Reut and Gavriel Hoter, 17, from Alonei Habashan - were killed when the gunman sprayed the dining room with bullets and threw hand grenades at the diners.

The attacker was shot dead during a nearby 30-minute gunbattle with IDF troops. A second terrorist, who apparently helped the gunman reach the settlement, managed to escape the immediate area, but was pursued by IDF troops a few kilometers southwest of Otniel to Dahariya, where he was shot dead. Three soldiers were lightly wounded in the exchange of fire.

Apter was buried after the Sabbath on Saturday night; Bamberger's funeral will take place 10 A.M. Sunday.

Medical teams evacuated the wounded via ambulance and helicopter to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva and Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.

Four people were still receiving hospital treatment, Israel Radio said Saturday, adding that one of them was in moderate condition and the rest suffering from light wounds.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. The organization's leader, Abdallah Ramadan Salah, said in a broadcast on the satellite channel Al-Jazeera that the attack was carried out to avenge the IDF's killing of nine Palestinians, including Jihad activist Hamsa abu Roub, in separate incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Thursday.

In recent months the Hebron area has been the main target of terror attacks in the territories. On November 15, nine IDF soldiers and three security officers were killed in an Islamic Jihad ambush in Kiryat Arba, while two weeks ago, two members of the military police - one a woman- were killed in Hebron.