Shooting victim: By a ‘miracle,’ terrorist didn’t fire right away
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Shooting victim: By a ‘miracle,’ terrorist didn’t fire right away

Eitan Finkel, who drove for some 20 minutes on Saturday night with a bullet in his leg and 6 kids in the backseat, says gunman hesitated

Eitan Finkel speaks with the media at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center on July 10, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Eitan Finkel speaks with the media at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center on July 10, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israeli man injured in a West Bank shooting attack on Saturday night said the terrorist did not fire at his car until he had driven past, in what he described as a “miracle.”

Eitan Finkel, who was shot in the leg and lightly to moderately injured, told reporters at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Sunday that he was driving home to the southern city of Netivot from the settlement of Metzad with his wife and six children when they spotted the gunman.

“When we arrived at the T junction, just two meters away, my wife and I saw a terrorist in front of us with a gun… directed at us. We waited for a boom. My wife screamed and I screamed.”

“Why he didn’t shoot, I don’t know,” he added.

Finkel described how he turned right at the junction and then “I heard shots. The windshield cracked, I saw that I was still alive, thank God, and I flew. I stepped on the gas.”

An Israeli vehicle hit by gunfire near the Tekoa settlement in the West Bank on July 9, 2016. (Etzion bloc spokesperson)
An Israeli vehicle hit by gunfire near the Tekoa settlement in the West Bank on July 9, 2016. (Etzion bloc spokesperson)

After driving for some five minutes, the Finkels saw an army jeep parked on the side of the road and stopped for help.

“I felt my shoe fill up with blood. I was afraid I would lose consciousness. I stopped by the soldiers and told them I had been shot in the foot.”

But when the soldiers came to remove him from the car, Finkel didn’t want to get out of the vehicle, telling them it was dangerous. The soldiers urged him to continue driving to another area where an ambulance was waiting.

“He asked me if I could drive and I said yes, so he said ‘go, there’s an ambulance there.’ It was 10-15 minutes away, driving quickly. I got there, and my wife told me ‘continue, go a little further.’ I said that’s it, I can’t, I felt I was losing consciousness. I parked the car, my wife called out to the soldiers and they applied a tourniquet.”

The couple’s six children in the backseat were not aware of what was happening, he said.

Finkel described the terrorist’s hesitation before he started firing as a “miracle.”

“One bullet hit me and my family emerged without a scratch — by a miracle.”

The shooting attack took place south of a T junction on the highway connecting the east and west sides of the Etzion settlement bloc.

The Israel Defense Forces launched a manhunt to locate the perpetrator or perpetrators of the attack, a military spokesperson said, and closed off the Palestinian villages of Sa’ir and Al-Aroub.

The Saturday attack came after the brutal killing of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel on June 30 in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron. Ariel was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while she was sleeping in her bedroom.

A day later, Rabbi Miki Mark, a yeshiva head from the settlement of Otniel, was killed in a drive-by shooting by Palestinian terrorists on Route 60 with his family. Mark’s wife was seriously injured and two of his children were wounded in the shooting attack, which caused the family’s car to overturn.

Since October 2015, 35 Israelis and four others have been killed and hundreds more injured in the wave of Palestinian attacks, though the violence had dramatically waned of late. More than 200 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while carrying out attacks and the rest in clashes with troops, Israeli officials say.

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