Victim of Samaria shooting attack Yehuda Guetta dies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his ‘deepest condolences’ to the family of 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

One of two victims critically wounded in Sunday’s drive-by shooting at the Tapuach Junction in Samaria died of his injuries Wednesday night.

“With great sorrow and agony, we announce the death of our son, our precious, beloved Yehuda Guetta, who was murdered in his youth by vile people,” the family said following his death.

Guetta, 19, of Jerusalem, was a student in a yeshiva in the village of Itamar in Samaria, an institution where the young men combine Torah learning with army service in a five-year, post-high school track.

He had been standing at a popular hitchhiking and bus stop when a gunman stopped his car briefly at the post and fired his weapon repeatedly. Fellow student Benaya Peretz of Beit She’an, remains in critical condition from the attack.  A third student was lightly injured and has already been released from the hospital.

The funeral will take place at 11:00 a.m. in Guetta’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood.

Nehemia Lotkin, a friend of Guetta’s, told Army Radio Thursday that his classmate had been “quiet and gentle” and also “full of jokes.” Guetta was also a serious student, he said. “Yehuda wanted to learn a lot of Torah, and then go to the army.” Members of the yeshiva community were in shock over the death, he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his sympathies to the grieving family.

“I send my deepest condolences to the family of Yehuda Guetta,” he tweeted. “These are difficult moments for the Guetta family and the whole nation of Israel is with them in their terrible grief.”

President Reuven Rivlin expressed his sorrow as well.

“I send a brave hug, strength and prayers to comfort the family of Yehuda Guetta… How much pain and sorrow over a brilliant light that was cut off like that by a vile terrorist,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yossi Dagan of the Samaria Regional Council demanded action so that future attacks could be prevented.

“This is a grave disaster – not only for the Itamar Yeshiva and the settlement enterprise in Samaria – but for the entire State of Israel,” he said. “I demand that the Israeli government bring back the security checkpoints and return to controlling the traffic routes. Our lives are more important than any politics. I am not prepared to hear that the IDF will [simply] contain the incident.”

The alleged perpetrator of the attack, Muntasir Shalabi, 44, was arrested in the town of Silwad in the early hours of Thursday morning, after an intensive intelligence work and a large-scale army manhunt.

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Guetta is survived by his parents, four brothers and two sisters.