JERUSALEM (JTA) — A baby delivered after his mother was shot multiple times in a drive-by attack outside a West Bank settlement is “fighting for his life,” doctors said.
The boy was delivered in surgery at 30 weeks at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem to save the life of his 21-year-old mother, who was shot in the abdomen and pelvis during the Sunday night attack at a bus stop near the entrance to Ofra. The baby’s father also was among the seven people shot, including two 16-year-old girls.
“During the night, the baby’s condition deteriorated at the NICU, and he was put on a ventilator. There’s concern of brain damage,” Dr. Alon Schwartz, a senior trauma surgeon at the hospital, told Ynet. “He’s undergoing imaging tests now, and we’re fighting for his life.”
The baby’s mother reportedly regained consciousness on Monday morning, but Yonatan Halevy, Shaare Zedek’s medical director, told reporters that she and her baby “have a long way to go before they are out of danger.”
Shots were fired from a passing car on Sunday night into a crowd of people waiting at the bus stop. Israeli soldiers responded by firing at the vehicle, the Israel Defense Forces said, but the vehicle and its two passengers got away. The attack was captured on security camera video. The search for the white car and its passengers entered its second day on Monday in the West Bank, including in a Palestinian town near the site of the attack.
“Praying for the recovery of those injured in the despicable terrorist attack, including the young mother who brought life to the world from this hellish scene,” President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement. “I hope those injured recover soon and am sending my unreserved support to the security forces who are relentlessly pursuing the terrorists.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset on Monday called the attack “monstrous.” He said that all Israelis were praying for those wounded in the attack and for the doctors working to save the baby’s life.
“There are, of course, cries of joy,” Netanyahu said, referring to Hamas praise for the attack, which it called “heroic,” but did not claim credit. “I think it is too much to expect a condemnation from the Palestinian Authority. They only contribute to incitement here. Our security forces – the Shin Bet security service and the IDF – are pursuing the murderers. They will capture them. We will deal with them to the fullest extent of the law and settle accounts with them.”
Hamas spokesman Abdelatif al-Qanou called the attack “an affirmation of our people’s choice and legitimacy in resisting the Zionist occupation and its settlers.” He also wrote that the attack “proves that any attempt to condemn the Palestinian resistance will fail in the face of the desire and valiance of our Palestinian people,” a reference to the vote Thursday in the United Nations that failed to pass a resolution condemning Hamas and its attacks on Israel.
White House special international negotiator Jason Greenblatt in a tweet condemned the failure of the resolution in light of Sunday night’s attack.
“@UN this is what you defended last week when you failed to condemn Hamas. Hamas praises yet another terror attack. You had the ability to help fight against terror. Is this what the UN wants its legacy to be?”
The Jewish Home party, a coalition partner headed by Naftali Bennett, called for the legalization of the Ofra settlement in response to the attack. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the party’s No. 2, said that a draft law has been prepared that would make the necessary changes to the settlement’s master plan in order to legalize the homes said to be built on Palestinian-owned land, Haaretz reported.
Ofra was established in 1975 on an abandoned Jordanian military base, approved by then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Peres. The original settlement was built on state-owned land but expanded to include land claimed to be owned by Palestinians in a neighboring village. Nine homes in Ofra were demolished in March 2017 on orders of Israel’s Supreme Court after it was determined that they were built on Palestinian land.