Slight improvement overnight for girl hurt in West Bank firebombing
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Slight improvement overnight for girl hurt in West Bank firebombing

11-year-old Ayala Shapira still in serious condition after vehicle hit by Molotov cocktail outside Ma'ale Shomron settlement

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A car hit by a Molotov cocktail goes up in flames on December 25, 2014. The driver suffered minor injuries and his 11-year-old daughter suffered serious burns on most of her body. (photo credit: Judea and Samaria Fire Department)
A car hit by a Molotov cocktail goes up in flames on December 25, 2014. The driver suffered minor injuries and his 11-year-old daughter suffered serious burns on most of her body. (photo credit: Judea and Samaria Fire Department)

There was a slight improvement overnight in the condition of the 11-year-old Israeli girl seriously injured in a West Bank firebomb attack Thursday evening.

Ayala Shapira is still intubated and sedated in serious condition, as doctors in the Sheba Medical Center emergency room work to save her life, Israel Radio reported.

A doctor at Sheba told Israel Radio Friday that they had opened a breathing passage in her neck, where she had suffered serious burns.

Shapira and her father, Avner, were driving home near a West Bank settlement in the northern West Bank when their car was struck by a Molotov cocktail.

The girl suffered third-degree burns over the majority of her body and face and was placed in an induced coma.

Sheba director Professor Zeev Rotstein said that she suffered life-threatening burns to her torso, head, arms and legs, and that “we will do everything in order to save her life.”

The father suffered minor burns to his limbs.

Ayala Shapira (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ayala Shapira (photo credit: Courtesy)

The father told Ynet that he and his daughter were on their way home when they turned onto the road connecting Ma’ale Shomron and the illegal outpost of El Matan, where the Shapira family lives. He said his wife’s car was firebombed last month as well, but she managed to avoid injuries. The car, however, was damaged in the attack.

After the attack, the father rescued his daughter from the burning vehicle. The girl’s mother told Israel Radio that the two walked on foot for several hundred meters to their home before receiving medical care.

“We saw the firebomb being lit above the road and the bottle being thrown,” Shapira said from his hospital bed. “I shouted to my daughter to get out [of the car] and she managed to do it. Thanks to the grace of God we managed to get out of the car, but she was injured much more seriously than I was.

“We hope that the hospital staff will succeed in returning her to her previous condition,” Shapira told Ynet.

Ayala is the eldest of five girls. Her mother, Ruth, said she is a “very special child” and “smart in an exceptional way.

“If she wasn’t such a quick-witted child, we wouldn’t be talking right now,” Ruth Shapira told Ynet.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the attack occurred on Route 55 outside the Ma’ale Shomron settlement at about 6:30 p.m.

Large numbers of IDF troops were deployed to the area following the incident to search for the perpetrators.

Video of firefighters fighting the blaze showed the car consumed by flames and completely destroyed in the attack.

President Reuven Rivlin tweeted that he was “deeply saddened” and that “our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery are with her and her family.”

The father and daughter were evacuated by Magen David Adom paramedics to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital for treatment.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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