Montreal relatives grieving loss of child after shooting outside West Bank settlement
'A tremendous sense of loss,' says uncle of victim who is Canadian citizen
A family with close ties to Montreal is coping with the loss of a newborn baby after the parents were injured in a drive-by shooting outside a settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Amichai Ish-Ran and his wife Shira were waiting for a bus on Sunday when a man opened fire from a vehicle. Seven were injured before the vehicle sped away.
"It's doubly difficult. One, because they're so far away, and secondly because you're completely helpless," said Jordan Charness, a Montreal lawyer who is Amichai's uncle.
The couple was leaving Ofra after visiting Shira's family, who live in the West Bank settlement. Amichai and Shira live about 20 km away from Ofra, Charness said.
Amichai has dual Canadian-Israeli citizenship and visits at least once a year. Charness said most of the extended family still lives in Montreal.
"There's a feeling of helplessness, sadness, anger, all mixed together and a tremendous sense of loss," Charness said. He said he will be visiting his family in Israel in two weeks.
His daughter lives and works there, and often travels back and forth between Israel and Canada.
Shira, who was 30 weeks pregnant, was shot in the back. She was transported to a hospital in Jerusalem where her baby was delivered prematurely. The infant has since died.
Charness said Amichai was shot in the leg as he tried to protect his wife from the gunfire. He has had surgery and is doing better, Charness said.
Shira was in a coma for two days and is now recovering.
"Hopefully she'll have a full recovery but it's going to take a long time," Charness said.
Charness says it's hard for Canadians to comprehend the danger that those living in the region experience every day.
"You always hope that nothing will ever happen, but there's always an undercurrent of worry," he said.
Ramallah locked down following attack
Following the attack, Israel set up checkpoints at the entrances to the West Bank city of Ramallah, searching cars entering the city and checking drivers' IDs.
Some Israeli-controlled roads were completely blocked to Palestinian traffic.
The clampdown on the city, the Palestinians' economic and administrative centre, was an unusual step that signalled the severity with which Israel viewed the attack.
In another attack Thursday, a Palestinian gunman got out of a car and opened fire at a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement, killing two Israeli soldiers before speeding away, the Israeli military said.
"Israel's long arm will reach anyone who harms Israeli citizens," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Israeli forces said they killed two Hamas members in the West Bank this week suspected of attacking Israelis.
One of them was Salah Barghouti, a Palestinian suspect wanted in the drive-by shooting.
Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip and is considered a terrorist organization by many states including Canada, said Barghouti was a member, but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack.
"It's just beyond comprehension for people living Canada that anybody could decide that shooting a pregnant woman in the back is going to advance the cause of anything at all," said Charness.
With files from The Associated Press