A young Israeli girl was seriously wounded in a terrorist firebombing as she rode in a car with her father, who was more lightly injured, near Maalei Shomron on Thursday evening.
In the horrific attack, eleven-year-old Ayala Shapira suffered burns over much of her body after the car became engulfed in flames.
She and her father, Avner Shapira, from the community of El Matan, were evacuated to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. The hospital’s Prof. Zeev Rotstein informed reporters that the girl was in critical condition. Her Hebrew name was given as Ayala bas Rus.
The incident came only a month after her mother escaped a similar attack in the same area.
At approximately round 6:30 p.m., IDF forces, MDA paramedics, firefighters and the police received a call about a burning car, which the report said was hit by a Molotov cocktail thrown by Palestinians.
From his hospital bed, Avner Shapira told reporters that “b’chasdei Hashem we managed to escape from the car. May Hashem help the medical team to return Ayala to the way she was before this.
He said that it was no accident, but a terrorist attack. He saw them throwing a firebomb at the car from a nearby hilltop.
Contrary to an earlier report which said he pulled her out, the father said that his daughter was initially slowed from leaving the car by her seatbelt, but then succeeding in extricating herself from the burning wreckage.
Security forces arrived and began a manhunt for the perpetrators in the area between Maalei Shomron and the Palestinian town of Qalqilya.
Earlier, IDF troops fired in the air towards a suspicious Palestinian vehicle that approached a military outpost near Beit Horon, next to Route 443, not far from where the firebomb attack took place. No injuries were reported and the vehicle turned and headed back into Palestinian territory.
Deputy director of the Shomron Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, said that all the resources of the Council were being thrown into the search for the attackers, and into developing methods to prevent a repeat.
“This was a serious attack. The ease on the strictures we have given terrorists has led to many attacks on our roads. It is illogical how we are letting them do this,” he said.
“No country in the world would tolerate this situation,” he said. “We call on the Prime Minister to use a heavy hand against these monsters, despite what some hypocrites in the European Union would say. We support our soldiers and security forces at this difficult time.”