Eitam Henkin, who was murdered on Thursday night along with his wife Naama by Palestinian gunmen, was an American citizen, the US State Department said.
Spokesman Mark Toner issued the confirmation, after Israel announced it had arrested five members of a Hamas cell that carried out the terror attack.
Two of the Palestinian terrorists fired multiple shots at the Henkins in their car, killing Eitam and Naama, residents of the West Bank settlement of Neria. Their four young sons, including a four-month-old infant, were in the backseat of the car during the shooting but were unharmed.
Israeli intelligence said one of the Palestinian gunman was accidentally shot by his colleague as they killed the Israeli couple, prompting them to flee the scene, and that this might have been why the children were left unharmed.
Eitam Henkin was the son of Rabbi Yehuda and Chana Henkin, who moved to Israel from the United States in the 1970s. Chana runs the Nishmat institute, a Jewish learning institution that was one of the first to teach women Talmud and Jewish law. Rabbi Henkin, a noted Torah scholar and author of several volumes of responsa, also serves as the school’s Jewish law authority.
Eitam, born in Jerusalem, studied at the Nir Yeshiva in Kiryat Arba and served in the IDF Golani Brigade. An ordained rabbi, he was also a historian, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said. The family moved to Neria three years ago. A noted Torah scholar and author of several volumes of responsa, he lectured at his mother’s college. He was completing his doctorate.
Naama Henkin was a graphic artist who owned a design studio. According to Arutz 7, she was the daughter of a former member of the elite Sayeret Matkal unit. Her father reportedly took part in the failed 1994 rescue attempt of IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman from a Palestinian village north of Jerusalem. Wachsman was killed by his Hamas kidnappers as the Israel Defense Forces sought to free him; one of the rescue team was also killed.
The Henkins were laid to rest Friday morning at 11 a.m at Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem. Their oldest child, Matan Hillel, 9, recited the Mourner’s Prayer (kadish) at the service. His brothers are Nitzan Yitzhak, 7, Neta Eliezer, 4 and Itamar, 4 months.