Jewish religious leaders identified the three Israelis killed Thursday morning when a Grad rocket launched by a terrorist group in Gaza slammed into their apartment building in Kiryat Malachi. Tragically, one of those killed was a 25-year-old pregnant mother of three planning to attend a memorial service for friends killed in a notorious terrorist attack in Mumbai, India in 2008.
According to the international Jewish organization Chabad Lubavitch, the two men and woman were identified as Ahron Smadga, Yitzchak Amselam, and the pregnant woman, Mirah (nee Cohen) Scharf.
Image source: mako.co.il
In fact, like the two Chabad emissaries killed in Mumbai in 2008, Scharf was involved in Jewish community outreach in India. Israeli political consultant Jonny Daniels tells TheBlaze that a leader of the Chabad Lubavitch movement for which she worked told him that Scharf returned to Israel to give birth because of the high level of medical care in Israel.
Chillingly, the memorial service for the Mumbai victims, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, was planned for Thursday. According to the Hebrew calendar, they were killed on the first day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which is today, the same day 25-year-old Scharf was killed.
The Algemeiner reports she was the mother of three young children:
A second victim named Ahron Smadga said to be in his late forties was the father of the 8 month old baby girl who was injured.
“He was married for 20 years and couldn’t have children then he had twin boys nine years ago, and 8 months ago his daughter was born and he was walking around with a smile on his face that he had a daughter after all this years,” [Jonny] Daniels told The Algemeiner.
“He was one of the first Chabad soldiers to join the Israeli Army,” he said.
The third victim was 22 year old Yitzchak Amselam. The funeral is planned for later today.
Algemeiner further quotes an Israeli Chabad website saying: “the entire community is devastated from the tragedy.”
An Israeli Army radio correspondent said at least one of the victims was standing on the balcony watching the rocket launches from the direction of Gaza, but the Chabad website dismisses that contention, writing:
“The shelters in Kiryat Malachi were not readied for the onslaught, and the residents of the building that was hit were running to relative safety under the stairwell of the building, when a missile hit, taking precious lives and injuring the others,” writes Shrurem.org
Kiryat Malachi means “City of Angels” in English. It is a relatively low-income city of 21,000 about 11 miles from Ashkelon in southern Israel.
Here is video taken by an Arutz 7 correspondent showing the extensive damage inside the building in which the three were killed: