Family of West Bank shooting victim calls for national unity

Malachy Moshe Rosenfeld, 25, to be laid to rest at 11 a.m in Kohav Hashahar on Wednesday

An Israeli wounded in a drive-by shooting attack is brought to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, June 29, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
An Israeli wounded in a drive-by shooting attack is brought to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, June 29, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The 25-year-old man who died of his injuries Tuesday after being critically wounded in a West Bank shooting attack a day earlier will be laid to rest Wednesday morning. His family called for national unity after his death.

The funeral for Malachy Moshe Rosenfeld is set to take place at 11:00 in the West Bank settlement of Kohav Hashahar, where he lived.

Three other men, who were also wounded in the attack, remain hospitalized.

The four friends were on their way home from a basketball game Monday night when the car they were traveling in was shot at by a Palestinian assailant near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, north of Ramallah.

The friends turned onto the interchange near Shvut Rachel, where the assault began. The attacker fired 18 rounds into the car, according to the IDF. Rosenfeld, who was in the passenger seat, was critically injured while the others were moderately to lightly wounded in the attack.

On Tuesday, Rosenfeld was pronounced dead in the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. His family said it would donate his corneas.

Malachy Rosenfeld (Facebook)
Malachy Rosenfeld (Facebook)

The family thanked the hospital for its “dedicated treatment” of their son and called for “unity among the people of Israel.”

Rosenfeld is the brother of an Israeli Air Force pilot who died after getting caught in a flash flood near the Tzeelim river in 2002. Eliezer Rosenfeld, his father, lost his brother some years ago in a car accident in the army.

Ariel Bar Asher, a cousin, told the Ynet news website Malachy “took charge of the family after his brother died.”

“He was supposed to graduate college in a month,” he added. Rosenfeld was a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“We were four friends coming back from a basketball game,” Yair Hoffer, the driver of the car who was shot in both legs, said. “All in all, we played basketball, we had a good time, we joked around on our way back. We were just trying to get home.”

“I saw the car pull up and that seems to be the moment that they started firing,” Hoffer said.

“They fired the full magazine at us, it seems,” he told Army Radio. “We tried to duck, to cover our heads at least. We were screaming in pain from our injuries and we started yelling, ‘Go! Go! Go!'”

But, Hoffer explained in the Tuesday morning interview, the gunshots had apparently damaged the car and it came to a stop. They watched as the driver of the shooter’s car appeared to hesitate about whether to continue forward or turn back. Luckily, he said, the terrorists’ automobile kept going.

Friends of the victim, who were in a car a quarter of a mile behind them, quickly came to their aid.

Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP it was not yet possible to determine whether the shooting was carried out by a lone attacker or small group, or was the work of a larger network. So far, no terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Following the attack the army deployed a large number of soldiers to search the vicinity for the perpetrators. The nearby settlements of Migdalim, Tapuah, Rachelim and Nofei Nehemia were placed on high-alert status. Troops reportedly set up checkpoints in the area and were inspecting vehicles for possible suspects.

Photos posted on social media showed the victims’ vehicle smeared with blood and riddled with bullet holes.

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The head of the Yesha Council, an umbrella movement of Jewish settlers, said the attack “joins a long line of serious terror incidents that began after the start of (the Muslim holy month of) Ramadan.”

Monday night’s attack was the sixth in the past two weeks. The IDF is on particularly high alert due to Ramadan, which usually ushers in a spike in violent incidents.

On June 19, a 25-year-old Israeli man, Danny Gonen, died after being shot near the settlement of Dolev, northwest of Jerusalem.

Last Sunday a Palestinian man stabbed and seriously injured an Israeli Border Police officer outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate. The assailant was shot and captured.

On Friday a Palestinian assailant was shot and killed by IDF soldiers after he opened fire on Israeli troops at a checkpoint in the West Bank. No soldiers were injured in the attack.

Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.

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