On this day: Palestinian gunmen kill nine Israelis
March 3 2002: Ten dead, more wounded
In one of the grimmer incidents of the intifada, a Palestinian gunman ambushed a group of Israeli servicemen and shot dead seven of them.
A further three Israeli civilians were killed in the terrorist attack, which took place at an army checkpoint in the Jewish settlement of Ofra.
In response to this and two other deadly terror attacks in the same week – including a suicide bombing that left a one-year-old baby girl dead - Israeli Air Forces F-16 jets bombed Palestinian Authority police headquarters in Ramallah. The Fatah-linked Al Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility the shooting.
One of the dead on the Ofra attack was Yochai Porat, a 26-year-old volunteer paramedic with Magen David Adom, who was shot after he went to the aid of the soldiers. Mr Porat, a longtime MDA worker who helped train foreign volunteers, was on army reserve duty at the time.
The previous week he had shown then senator Hillary Clinton round the MDA headquarters. She said after his death: “Here I am thinking about this vibrant, attractive young man, who with this group of 18-or-so American young people was dedicated to saving lives.”
What a British MDA volunteer who had worked with Porat told the JC: Yochai was a peaceful, selfless man who strove against all odds to help others, whether at a minimal inconvenience or an extreme risk. His commitment to the Jewish cause could rarely be matched. Mixing with worldly political figures was considered subordinate to his goals of educating and involving the diaspora, and above all to help those in the most desperate of circumstances… for which he has paid the ultimate price. Working with Yochai, one was left astounded not only by his professionalism, but also by his personal excellence, which proved insightful and inspiring, indicative of what everyone should aspire to be.”
See more from the JC archives here.