A strange voice said: I just killed your husband

Shock and anger among Israelis at the lynching of two army reservists at the Palestinian police station in Ramallah grew yesterday as details of the men's last moments emerged.

Shock and anger among Israelis at the lynching of two army reservists at the Palestinian police station in Ramallah grew yesterday as details of the men's last moments emerged.

After the television pictures of the deaths of Yossi Avrahami and Vadim Norjitz were shown, it was revealed that Mr Avrahami's wife Hani had called him on his mobile phone. A strange voice answered: "I just killed your husband."

Irina Norjitz, three months pregnant and married for only a week, tried to call her husband, but nobody answered. In the afternoon the military called to say Vadim had not reached his base. Finally the police came to tell her he was dead.

Mr Norjitz was buried yesterday. The funeral of Mr Avrahami, 38, a toy salesman with three children, is scheduled for tomorrow.

Media reconstructions of Thursday's events say the two men made a fatal wrong turn, heading for the centre of Ramallah instead of taking the bypass. They passed an Israeli checkpost, but were not stopped, maybe because the guards assumed they were heading for an Israeli camp, Ofer, a few hundred yards on.

The reservists continued towards Ramallah, reaching a Palestinian Authority roadblock, where previously Israeli soldiers were turned back. This time the Palestinians arrested the Israelis and ordered them to drive to the Ramallah station.

Rumours spread that the police had seized Israeli soldiers in plain clothes and a mob of 1,000 gathered, stormed the police station and killed the men. Israeli press reports yesterday said it was not unusual for reserve soldiers to be in civilian clothes.

The lynching has hardened attitudes among young Israelis. "They [the Palestinians] hate us more than I thought," said Lior Gabriel, a 24-year-old design student, in a Tel Aviv coffee bar. Normally the place is packed on a Friday afternoon, but fear kept people from the streets. "I was terrified when I saw the television," said Ms Gabriel. "I think the military response was good, because those people crossed the line."

Michal Dror, 24, argued that sooner or later Israelis and Palestinians would have to talk, but her friend, Chaim Shatsky, 28, waved her aside. "They were murderous, brutal. We should fight back."

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