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Sunday, November 23, 2003

Two Israeli guards murdered by Arab terrorists last night in eastern Jerusalem

Arutz Sheva: Two Israeli guards were murdered by Palestinian terrorists last night as they were ending a shift in eastern Jerusalem. Three Israelis were guarding equipment used to build the partition fence in the area between Abu Dis and Ir David [City of David, below and southeast of the Old City] when the terrorists snuck up on them as they were sitting in a car.

They shot and killed the guards from point-blank range, but did not notice the third one - who, though he was in his post, froze and did not return fire. The terrorists were even able to steal their victims' weapons. Two other guards who were supposed to be on the site had gone to pick up their replacements for the upcoming change in shift.

The names of the two victims were released this morning after their families were informed. They are: Ilia Riger, 58, of Jerusalem, and Sami Fathi Afan, 25, of a Druze village near Nazareth.

Media focus as reflected in newspapers and the electronic media is concentrated this morning on the deficiencies of the guards and the lack of comment by the Tamnun Company that hired them. MK Eliezer Cohen (National Union) told Arutz-7's Yosef Meiri this morning, "What worries me more than the foul-ups in a civilian guard company is the foul-ups in the army in recent attacks in Netzarim and Ein Yabrud and elsewhere... [In addition], the press is taking advantage of the situation. The bottom line is that the enemy finds our weaknesses and takes advantage of them to kill us."

Ironically, Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman awarded citations this morning to two security guards who responded quickly and effectively in killing a terrorist at the Aravah Terminal this past Wednesday.

MK Cohen's party colleague MK Yuri Stern said beforehand, "What we see is that every time the IDF lets up on its offensive actions, a new wave of terror begins. This is not a game: Either we are on the offensive, or we're only on the defensive, with all its accompanying errors and losses. The dismantling of the Palestinian Authority must be our objective, but unfortunately this does not appear to be the case."