I just got off the phone with Sgt. Edi Itelman (pictured below), the Paramedic in the IDF’s Mobile Intensive Care Unit who was the first responder at the home in Itamar where five members of the Fogel family were brutally murdered.
The following represents the direct account he provided to me and a couple of other writers who participated in the call.
“My ambulance is ten minutes from Itamar, and on Friday, 1 AM Israeli time, we got a call reporting that there had been a terrorist attack in Itamar and people have been wounded.
I, another medic and driver, got to Itamar and when we reached the house we realized we were the first professionals on the scene, didn’t know if terrorists was still there, so we entered cautiously to make sure the perpetrators weren’t still there, and then proceeded to attend to the victims.
The first thing I saw when we entered the first room was 4-year-old [Elad] on the carpet with three stab wounds in his left chest, and, as I thought at the time he was still alive, left another medic to attend to him.
I then entered the second room and found the 11-year-old[Yoav] who had been butchered, his throat was sliced so deep that his head was nearly detached from the body.
Then we entered the third room where we found the mother [Ruth] dead, lying on floor in pool of blood with multiple stab wounds. On a bed in same room, laying dead with single stab wound in the neck, was the father [Udi]. The three-month old baby [Hadas] was underneath the father. The baby was killed with one stab wound to the skull.
I then returned to the first room, where I thought Elad was still alive, and soon realized that he, too, was dead.
The carpet was soaked in blood.
I then called in to report the five casualties.
As a professional I felt helpless. Though I’m a highly trained paramedic, it was too late. There was nothing I could do for the entire family.
Personally, the first thing that came to mind was my baby sister who is five. I’ve seen terror and suicide bombings, but there was something very personal about this attack. Shrapnel from bombs and suicide attacks [impersonally] strike everyone and everything in it is path, but stabbing kids is a very personal act. I kept on wondering how someone can do something like that? I can’t imagine a baby being stabbed to death. I can’t imagine someone stabbing children again and again until they’re dead.”
I then asked Sgt. Itelman if he treated any Palestinians shortly after the attack in Itamar, and, if so, whether he had any particular thoughts he wanted to share about the experience.
“The very next day, after the attacks in Itamar, I treated a suspect arrested on suspicion of participating in the planning of the attack in Itamar. When in custody, the suspect had very severe bronchitis attack, which could have killed him, and the only thing I could do is be as detached and professional as possible. I treated him well and he survived.
I’m an IDF professional, and that’s what we’re trained to do.”