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Saturday, February 28, 2004

Israeli couple murdered Friday night in terrorist ambush on highway

Survived by 2-year-old daughter

A young couple, Eitan and Rima Kukui were killed yesterday by terrorist fire as they were returning to their settlement, Shani, in the south Hebron hills from a family visit in Ashdod. Both Ahmed Jibril’s Popular Front-General Command and the El Aksa Martyrs’ Brigade of the Palestinian mainstream Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the attack. Magen David Adom rescuers, who rushed to the scene of the attack, were unable to save the young couple.

The couple’s 2-year old daughter had been left in the care of her grandmother. On hearing of the deaths, Eitan Kukui’s sister, Tassia Levin, who also lives in Shani declared: “I'm going leave the settlement and move to Beersheba”.

The windscreen of the couple’s car was found shattered, and the entire vehicle perforated with bullet holes. Army radio reports that the terrorists probably fired first from a distance and then, when the car came to a halt, approached and shot the couple again at close range.

Air force planes joined army trackers in the search for the culprits and dropped flares in the area. Preliminary investigation points to two terrorists, who came from Shani's neighboring village of El Ramadin in southern Judea, crossed the Green Line and ambushed the couple as they were driving on the main Beersheba - Hebron road, between the Jewish settlement of Eshkolot and the Arab village of Sansana.

Southern District police chief, Commander Moshe Caradi said: “We knew that once the security barrier was constructed in the North and Center, there would be terrorist attacks in the South. This is a very grave attack and one we had feared would happen”.

Eitan Kukui’s family said that he had studied business management at Ben Gurion University and had worked in a kibbutz in the Negev. His wife, Rima Novikov, studied public administration at Sapir College. The couple had intended to leave the settlement and move to Beer Sheba. Kukui’s sister, Tassia, recounted that the couple were looking forward to celebrating their daughter’s second birthday.
A Google News search for [Kukui] yields one relevant result, but it's from Maariv, the Israeli newspaper.

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