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Jerusalem----January 16......Arab terrorists slaughtered two Israeli civilians in separate terror attacks near Jerusalem yesterday. Avraham (Avi) Boaz, 71, and Yoela Chen, 47, will be buried today.

Yoela Chen

Chen, the mother of two children, and her aunt, Rahel Heini, 70, who was moderately wounded in the terror attack were on their way to a family wedding in Jerusalem.
The execution style murder took place near the entrance to Givat Ze'ev, north of Jerusalem. The two women stopped at a gas station when two terrorists approached their vehicle and opened fire at short range. According to police, the terrorists approached Chen's car as she turned to enter the Givat Ze'ev gas station and, after verifying the two women were Israeli, fired eight or nine bullets at close range and fled toward El-Jib and Ramallah.
Chen was hit in the head and chest and died shortly thereafter. Heini was wounded in the shoulder and hand and treated at Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem.

One of Yoela's brothers was driving behind her and witnessed the shooting.
He notified his three brothers, who were already at the wedding. Yoela worked as a secretary in Wolfson Hospital in Holon. "She was a wonderful woman, she loved helping," said Moshe Cohen, brother of the bride. "She wanted to take part in the wedding, and her husband stayed home to take care of the children. She was killed on the way."

Yoela Chen will be buried in Jerusalem. She is survived by her husband and two children.

Avi Boaz

Boaz was kidnapped in Beit Jalla and taken to Beit Sahur, outside of Bethlehem, where he was murdered in a hail of bullets. Avi Boaz immigrated to Israel from the United States in 1961. Here, about 40 years ago, he met and married Eve. Although they later divorced, they remarried just two weeks ago, when Eve was on her deathbed, suffering from cancer. She passed away several days later.

His daughter, Idit Cohen, said that her father had been on friendly terms with Palestinians in the Bethlehem area, often eating with them and attending their family celebrations. "The Arabs of Bethlehem were more than his friends, they were his family," she said. "He knew Beit Jala better than he knew Jerusalem. He worked there for many years. He trusted them, and always believed that things would turn out well. I always worried about him, because of his travels to that area. He always answered: Nothing will to happen to me."

Residents in Bethlehem and Beit Jala responded yesterday to Boaz's murder with disbelief and anger, noting that he had been a fixture on the local landscape for 20 years, and had become "part of the local society." They said that Boaz maintained good relations with many in Bethlehem and Beit Jala, and was "never involved in acts which harm Palestinians."

Avraham Boaz is survived by his daughter, Idit.

Arafat's Fatah's Al-Aksa Brigade claimed responsibility for both murders.

Boaz's body, an engineer from Ma'aleh Adumim who held dual US and Israeli citizenship, was handed over to government officials yesterday evening. The terrorists abducted him from a roadblock set up by Palestinian police, who reportedly witnessed the kidnaping and failed to intervene. The government is demanding the PA investigate the inaction of the policemen.

Givat Ze'ev Local Council head Shaul Mizrahi said that he had sent letters two weeks ago to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, and the IDF Central Command warning of the dangers of attacks, especially in two areas.

"I warned them, and look what happened tonight," he said. "I told them there are two areas that need to be dealt with: one where the gas station is, and the other on the road from Nebi Samwil to Bidu and Katanna. The IDF closed off the area, and Palestinians walk freely in the neighborhood. That is why I think Chen was not alarmed when the two terrorists approached her, because there are always Palestinians wandering around."

According to initial reports, Boaz drove his car, accompanied by a Palestinian acquaintance, to purchase building materials and possibly furniture for an apartment he had recently rented in Gilo. His wife had died the week before, and Boaz had just returned to work. He was no stranger to the Bethlehem area, having worked on a number of projects in Beit Sahur and Beit Jalla, and had many Palestinian acquaintances.

Arriving at the roadblock, Boaz was stopped by Palestinian police. Four terrorists forced his passenger out of the car and drove with Boaz to Beit Sahur, where they fired more than 19 bullets into him and his car.

According to Palestinians, his body was taken to the nearby Hussein Hospital. OC Gush Etzion Lt.-Col. Yaron Boim told The Jerusalem Post that Palestinian civilians informed Israeli officials of the discovery of an Israeli body.

"We immediately contacted our Palestinian counterparts and asked them to investigate," Boim said. "They went to the roadblock, but the policemen there denied any involvement. The fact that the policemen stood at the roadblock with the terrorists and did nothing to intervene when they abducted Boaz is extremely serious."

PA sources admitted the killing of Boaz, who used his American passport to enter the Bethlehem area, might cause problems with both Israel and the US.

The US State Department was trying to ascertain the circumstances of his killing.

"Certainly the incident, the death of this American citizen, underscores the necessity in bringing an immediate end to violence and moving quickly towards implementation of the Tenet security plan and the Mitchell Committee recommendations, as we've called for for so long," State Department spokesman Phil Reeker told reporters.

US Consulate spokeswoman Pat Kabra reiterated that the State Department had issued travel advisories regarding Israel. "We do strongly recommend that Americans refrain from traveling in the West Bank and Gaza," she said, adding there were also travel advisories posted on the consulate and embassy Web sites for Palestinians with American citizenship.

Security officials said a response to the attacks would be forthcoming. They also reiterated warnings forbidding Israelis from entering areas under Palestinian Authority control.

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