A 4-year-old girl seriously injured in a 2013 rock-throwing terror attack died on Tuesday afternoon from complications from pneumonia, a Petah Tikva hospital said.
“With great sadness we announce the passing of Adele Bitton, who passed away this evening despite doctors’ efforts to save her. We send our condolences to the family,” the Schneider’s Children’s Hospital said in a statement.
Medical staff at the hospital said Bitton’s condition deteriorated after she developed respiratory complications from a lung infection. She was transferred to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit Tuesday where doctors attempted to save her.
Bitton suffered a traumatic brain injury in March 2013 when Palestinians threw rocks at a car driven by her mother, causing her to lose control and crash into a truck on Road 5 near the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
The lung infection stemmed from a neurological condition related to the injuries suffered in the attack, which left Bitton largely unresponsive for the last two years, hospital officials said.
Right-wing lawmakers responded to the toddler’s death with calls for harsher measures against rock-throwers.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Bitton’s death was “another reminder that there are no ‘minor terror attacks’ and no ‘minor terrorists’ and stone-throwing terrorists should be treated the same way terrorists using live ammunition are treated.”
Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett wrote on Facebook: “There are no words.”
“A nation whose heroes are the murderers of children will never get a state,” he wrote.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein offered condolences to the Bitton family, and denounced the “abhorrent, murderous” attack.
“The terrorist that brought this toddler to such a critical state must pay a serious price to make it clear that stone-throwing is an abhorrent, murderous action that cannot be forgiven,” Edelstein said in a statement.
Prior to her death, Bitton’s parents urged the public to pray for their daughter’s recovery when speaking to Channel 2 News, and said they were hoping for the same miracle that saved her life two years ago.
Five suspects were arrested in connection with the attack.
Jonathan Beck contributed to this report.