February 28, 2004
Eitan Kukoi, 30, and his wife Rima Novikov, 27, were murdered
by terrorist gunfire on Friday night in southern Green Line Israel on Route
31, the Hevron-Be’er Sheva Road. MDA emergency medical service dispatchers
received the first call at 20:24.
The two were traveling from their home in Livna in the Hevron Hills when
their car was targeted by automatic weapons fire. Police report the deadly shots
were fired from a stationary ambush position as the vehicle slowed to make a
right turn. The terrorists then approached the vehicle and “finished the job
from point blank range”, police added.
The car was found near Meitar, [in the Negev] between Shohat Junction and
Kibbutz Lahav close to the Green Line about 15 kilometers (9 miles) north of Be’
er Sheva. The overturned vehicle and lifeless bodies were found by an area
residents driving by the scene, who immediately summoned ambulances.
Area EMS commander Yehuda Shoshan said there was nothing to be done when they
arrived but to pronounce the two dead. The EMS physician realized it was too
late to implement resuscitative procedures. Investigators indicate they are
uncertain as to exactly how long the two were lying in the vehicle until the car
was found. Southern District Border Police Chief Avi Shirizali said two sets
of footprints were tracked from the scene, adding the terrorists escaped in a
waiting vehicle back to the village of Ramadin, south of the attack site.
Ramadin is an area “B”, under PA civilian and IDF security control. The search
continued this morning but police report the perpetrators of the attack remain
at large at this time.
Both the PFLP and al-Aqsa Brigade of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah terror or
ganization claimed responsibility for the fatal attack.
Israel Police Southern District spokesman Commander Yossi Kopel reports
dozens of spent Kalashnikov shells were recovered from the scene of the attack,
near the Arab village of Sansara.
Eitan’s sister, Tal Levine, told reporters that the couple’s daughter,
2.5-year-old Michelle, called “mommy daddy during the night, apparently feeling
something was wrong”. Tal added she was planning to move from Livna, and did so
immediately following the attack. “The Palestinians are not only murdering us,
but they are also driving us out”, she added.
When Eitam and Rima left their home on Friday night, they left Michelle with
her grandmother, deciding to go to Ashdod without her, in this case, saving
Funeral arrangements to be announced.