Fourth victim of Elad terror attack dies

Shimon Maatuf, a 75-year-old security guard, had rushed towards the terrorists when he heard screams and was severely injured when they struck him with an axe to the head.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A fourth victim of the brutal terrorist attack in Elad during last May’s Independence Day celebrations succumbed Wednesday night to his wounds.

Shimon Maatuf, 75, was acting as a security guard near one of the parks full of revelers when he heard screams and rushed to the location of the attack.

As’ad al-Rifa’i (19) and Sabhi Abu Shakir (20) had already hacked and stabbed several people on their rampage, killing three and wounding four with axes and knives.

Maatuf managed to get off one shot with his gun before being hit hard on the head with an axe, wounding him severely.

After his life was saved in the Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva, he spent several months at the Reuth Tel Aviv Rehabilitation Hospital. Instead of improving, his condition worsened and three months ago he was admitted into Ichilov Hospital.

“He was hospitalized ever since the terror attack,” said his daughter, Aviva Hallel, “going from hospital to hospital. He had an infection, he underwent months of suffering. The terrorists struck him with axes to the head and jaw and he never recovered.”

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She told Radio 103FM that that the doctors had repaired his face, “but a brain injury is a brain injury” and her father was basically unconscious for all these months, spending several periods of time sedated and on a ventilator.

“From the moment he was injured to the moment he died he lived as a miracle,” she said. “Deep inside, we knew that the situation was very bad. He didn’t communicate or react. They [the doctors] said that his condition was serious, it was a head wound…. We didn’t leave him for a second, we were with him all the time.”

In another interview, with Israel Hayom, she added that she felt Maatuf knew his family was with him and “would react to us with his eyes.”

The terrorists had cut a hole in the security fence near Ramallah and called a taxi service to take them to Elad, a town they knew because they had worked there illegally for months. They murdered the unwitting driver, Oren Ben Yiftach, as soon as they arrived, and then started running down the streets of the town. They hacked at anyone within reach, injuring several people and killing two local residents, Yonatan Habakuk and Boaz Gol.

The two were found hiding in a nearby forest two and a half days later, during a massive manhunt. They were indicted the next month on three counts of murder under aggravated circumstances in an act of terror, and five counts of attempted murder, as well as other charges including entering Israel illegally.

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At their indictment hearing, Elad Mayor Yisrael Porush yelled at the terrorists, “Dogs, rags, you deserve the death penalty!”

The IDF destroyed their homes in the town of Rummanah, near Jenin, in August.

Maatuf’s funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon at his home in Moshav Bareket. He leaves behind his wife, six children and 13 grandchildren.