Medics attend to the injured at the scene where a truck rammed a group of soldiers in eastern Jerusalem, Jan. 8, 2017. (Photo-JTA-Flash90-Yonatan Sindel)
Medics attend to the injured at the scene where a truck rammed a group of soldiers in eastern Jerusalem, Jan. 8, 2017. (Photo/JTA-Flash90-Yonatan Sindel)

2 soldiers killed in Jerusalem attack are U.S. citizens

Two of the four Israeli soldiers killed in a truck-ramming attack in eastern Jerusalem were American citizens.

The soldiers — three of them women — were buried on Jan. 9 in separate cemeteries a day after the attack on the promenade in Armon Hanatziv, an Israeli neighborhood in southern East Jerusalem.

Erez Orbach, 20, of Alon Shvut in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem was an American citizen, Haaretz reported, citing a U.S. Embassy official. The oldest of six brothers, Orbach holds U.S. citizenship through his mother, according to the newspaper, citing a family member.

Shira Tzur, 20, of Haifa, had U.S.-born parents, according to Haaretz, which cited a soldier in her unit.

The others killed were Yael Yekutiel, 20, of Givatayim, a city just outside Tel Aviv, and Shir Hajaj, 22, of Maale Adumim, an Israeli city of 37,000 in the West Bank.

The soldiers were on an educational trip along with several other groups. They had just gotten off a bus in the promenade when the driver of the truck, a resident of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, drove into them, reversing back over the bodies after he had hit them. Seventeen people were injured.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited some of the injured soldiers. One reportedly was in a life-threatening condition as of Jan. 10, breathing with the help of a respirator and facing more surgery.

Family members of the dead soldiers complained publicly that no government ministers attended the funerals, prompting Netanyahu to issue an order requiring such action in future. Currently it is up to ministers’ discretion whether or not to attend the funerals of soldiers killed in action or terror attacks.

JTA

JTA news agency