Condition of baby, delivered after mother shot in terror attack, deteriorates

Hospital says mother’s condition has stabilized but neither she nor child are out of danger after Sunday night shooting; IDF and security services continue manhunt for terrorists

The scene of a terrorist attack outside the West Bank settlement of Ofra, on December 9, 2018. (Magen David Adom)
The scene of a terrorist attack outside the West Bank settlement of Ofra, on December 9, 2018. (Magen David Adom)

The condition of a baby delivered after his mother was critically wounded in a shooting attack outside the West Bank settlement of Ofra on Sunday night has deteriorated, the hospital said Monday.

A pregnant woman was seriously injured by gunfire from a passing car as she waited, among a crowd of people, at a bus stop outside the settlement of Ofra on Sunday evening. Six other people were injured in the attack and the manhunt for the terrorists, who fled the scene, was ongoing.

The baby boy was delivered on Sunday night by Cesarean section in the 30th week of pregnancy, and was immediately transferred to the ward for premature babies at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, the hospital said.

Initially said to be in “stable” condition, the hospital said Monday the baby’s condition worsened and he was now hooked up to a ventilator and undergoing treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The 21-year-old mother underwent surgery late Sunday and was initially said to be “fighting for her life” after she suffered wounds to her upper body, but on Monday morning the hospital said her condition had stabilized.

However, Professor Yonatan HaLevy, Shaare Zedek medical director, cautioned that both the mother and child “have a long way to go before they are out of danger.”

“She arrived in a state of shock and had lost a lot of blood,” said Dr. Alon Schwartz, a surgeon at the hospital. “She has a gunshot wound in the lower stomach area,” he said.

“A pregnant woman who loses so much blood cannot provide the oxygen needed for the baby in her abdomen,” Schwartz told Army Radio on Monday. “This was apparently the harm to the baby that we discovered.”

The surgeon said the mother had regained consciousness and showed signs of movement, but was not yet out of danger.

Israeli soldiers and police inspect the scene of a terror attack at the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Ofra in the West Bank, on December 9, 2018. (Ofer Meir/Flash90)

On Monday morning, the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital said the injured woman’s husband underwent surgery and was in a stable condition, downgrading the severity of his injuries to mild-to-moderate.

The emergency services on Sunday said a man in his early twenties was hospitalized with moderate injuries, and two 16-year-old girls with light injuries, were taken to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in the capital.

“We are praying with concern for the healing of the wounded from this criminal attack, including a young mother who brought life into the world in the midst of such hell,” said President Reuven Rivlin on Monday.

“I wish (the victims) a speedy recovery and send strength to all of the security forces who are constantly chasing terrorists,” he added.

The IDF, border police and security services on Monday continued the manhunt for the terrorists, announcing that searches were ongoing in Palestinian villages in the West Bank.

The car from which the shots were fired was believed to have at least two occupants.

In security camera video of the shooting, posted to social media, a white car is seen slowing down near the bus stop, after which bullets can be seen striking the crowd who scramble for cover. The car, which comes to a stop for a few moments while the shooting apparently continues, then speeds off down the road as IDF soldiers are seen running to bus stop.

Paramedics who were in the Magen David Adom station nearby heard the shooting and immediately drove to the scene in an ambulance and began treating the victims.

Bus stops are often used as hitchhiking points by IDF soldiers looking for rides.

The northern entrance to al-Bireh, a town adjacent to Ramallah, was closed in both directions, the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa reported, as the IDF tried to locate the gunmen.

Two months ago, a Palestinian terrorist shot dead two Israelis at the Barkan Industrial Park. He is still on the run.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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