JERUSALEM—A Florida teen died Sunday of wounds suffered in a suicide bombing last month at a fast food outlet in Tel Aviv.
Daniel Wultz, 16, of Weston, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, recovered enough to tell his Israeli doctors "I want to live. Please help me," according to Avi Zuri of Davie, Fla., who recently returned home from Wultz's Tel Aviv bedside. The teen was fighting a strong tide, however.
"They (the doctors) thought he had a 5 percent chance of living," said Zuri, an escort for 44 students from the David Posnack Hebrew Day School in Plantation, Fla., who flew to Israel to pray for their 10th grade classmate.
"I'm in total shock, said Rachel Keller, director of Judaic Studies at Posnack. "We were sure that all our prayers were going to help."
Wultz, who was the 11th fatality in the April 17 attack, was in Tel Aviv with his parents, Tuly and Sheryl Wultz, visiting his grandparents and celebrating Passover. He and his father had stepped out for a snack at The Mayor's Falafel when a 21-year-old suicide bomber named Samir Hammad detonated 30 pounds of explosives at the entrance to the popular eatery.
"Daniel was thrown into my hands, and asked me to pick him up," Tuly Wultz, who suffered a leg injury, told the Jerusalem Post shortly afterward. "But when I saw the extent of his injuries, I laid him down to wait for an ambulance. I held his hand and told him I loved him, and he told me he loved me."
Wultz's extensive abdominal injuries required 10 hours of emergency surgery, according to Dr. Patrick Sorkin of Ichilov Hospital. A seven-day coma followed, along with surgeries to remove his spleen and a kidney. After his blood stopped circulating properly, doctors amputated a portion of one leg.
When Wultz revived from his coma, "At first we saw improvement," Sorkin said. "Afterwards we witnessed a downturn due to a septic condition." Such infections are common with severe abdominal wounds, he added. Ultimately, Wultz died of organ failure.
Suicide bomber Hammad, from the remote West Bank village of Arka, left behind a videotape of himself wearing the black-and-gold headband of the militant group Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the attack.
In his videotape, Hammad said: "We say to the enemy that our operations will continue and the martyrs are coming, and they love death and martyrdom as much as you love life."
Hammad's mother, Samia, praised her son in an interview with a Knight Ridder reporter shortly after the attack. "I am proud of what he did," she said. "If my other sons follow in the footsteps of their brother, I would be proud."
From Tel Aviv, Tuly Wultz phoned Rabbi Yisroel Spalter of Chabad Lubavitch in Weston at 6 a.m. Sunday to say that his son had died.
"There was 30 seconds on the phone where we didn't talk," Spalter said.
Daniel Wultz's body will be flown home Monday for burial, said Yael Tzuberi, a spokeswoman for Ichilov Hospital. His funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in Weston.
Elias Ashkar, the Islamic Jihad terrorist whom Israel blames for masterminding the April 17 attack and numerous others inside Israel, was killed Sunday in a shoot-out with Israeli military and police forces, according to an Israel Defense Forces statement. Four other gunmen reportedly died with Ashkar in the West Bank village of Kabatiya.
(Fantz reported from South Florida; Nissenbaum and Churgin from the West Bank and Jerusalem, respectively.)
(c) 2006, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.
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