The Palestinian men who gunned down Eitam and Naama Henkin in front of their four children in the West Bank last month claim to have planned the attack as revenge for the fatal July 31 firebombing of the Dawabsha family in the village of Duma, according to quotes from their interrogations cleared for publication Monday.
“We got together and decided that we had to do something as revenge over the attack against the Dawabsha family,” one of the terrorists, a Hamas member named Yihye Hajj Hamed, told his investigators, according to transcripts published by Channel 2.
Hamed was referring to the attack on the Dawabsha family home in the northern West Bank that killed a toddler and his parents. Defense officials say radical Jewish settlers carried out that attack, although police have yet to arrest suspects.
Hamed identified himself as “a member of the Hamas organization, and have been for two years.” He recruited the cell that carried out the Henkin murders, he said.
He purchased firearms with his own money “in order to take part in military operations against Israeli targets.”
One accomplice in the Henkin murder, who authorities said was named Samir, “explained to me how to shoot, and gave me the gun in a bag.”
On the night of the attack, the cell lay in wait at an intersection south of Nablus.
“We saw a white Israeli car. I asked [the driver] Samir to overtake the car, and while he was overtaking it I fired. I remember firing 10 or 15 automatic rounds at the Israeli vehicle,” he said.
“At that moment the Israeli car, which was driven by a Jewish citizen, stopped, and we did too. I got out of the car with the gun, switched the clip and went over to the woman who was sitting next to the driver.”
He described how, as he was approaching Naama Henkin, a bloodied Eitam Henkin was struggling with another member of his cell, identified as Karem, and attempting to grab his gun from him. Hamed opened fire, killing Eitam and also wounding his accomplice.
“I don’t know how many shots I fired at the man, who was killed on the spot. Meanwhile, as I was firing, one of the bullets hit Karem’s left hand,” he said. “I was attacked by the woman. I shot a few bullets at her and killed her on the spot.”
With one of them wounded, Hamed said he “saw that inside the car were three or four children, but I didn’t fire at them. We got into our car and drove away.”
In a separate interrogation, Hamed explained to investigators that “Islam forbids it, I mean the murder of children. My character also didn’t allow me to kill a baby or hurt him.”
He did not express remorse for killing the parents, saying in his interrogation, “I don’t think the people I killed were innocent. In our religion we also say ‘blood for blood.’” He killed the Henkins, he said, “to make sure the settlers understand that everything they do has a price, so that in the future they’ll think a hundred times before doing something against Palestinians.”
The shooting was done at close range, he said, “to make sure I killed them.”
The cell had also planned to kidnap an Israeli, Hamed told investigators.
After the attack, a Hamas official called him, he said. “I said I was with my girlfriend, that we should have a cocktail. He understood in that moment that we successfully carried out the attack.”