Christians Shot at Israeli-Jordan Border

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Shooting also wounds HCJB World Radio veteran

By Stefan J. Bos
Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (ANS) -- Retired missionary of the Christian radio network HCJB World Radio, Gustavo Molina, and his daughter Kathy were among five Ecuadorian tourists wounded Wednesday when a gunman opened fire on the group at the Israel-Jordan border near Israel's Red Sea resort of Eilat, a Christian station said Friday, Nov 21.

Jordan denounced the shooting and said it appeared to be an isolated incident carried out by a single person after officials identified the gunman as a truck driver from a mostly Palestinian town in Jordan.

The Israeli military said earlier that the attacker apparently concealed himself behind a Jordanian truck approaching the Israeli side of the border near Eilat.

Mission News Network said border guards immediately shot back, killing the attacker. "Although details are sketchy, the injuries to Molina and his daughter are not considered serious, and both are recovering in the Eilat hospital in southern Israel," MNN reported.

Molina has served as a chaplain at HCJB World Radio's Vozandes Hospital in Quito for more than 40 years -- the last 34 year of those as a missionary, MNN said. Although officially retired since August, he continues to volunteer at the hospital.

"His goal was to lead at least one patient Christ every day, and thousands responded to the Lord throughout his career," MNN reported.


Patricia Teran, a member of La Republica Alliance Church in Quito, suffered reportedly the worst injuries and was airlifted to Beersheva for treatment of head wounds, reported El Comercio, MNN reported.

The five victims were part of a group of 29 Ecuadorian tourists from Quito and Guayaquil. They were on a tour of Jordan, Israel and Egypt when the fighting erupted.

News reports sayd the violence broke out just before Palestinian leaders began talks in Gaza with militant factions on reaching a cease-fire with Israel to revive a U.S.-backed peace plan that has been stymied by persistence violence.


"The gunman . . . opened fire 20 yards from the entrance to the Israeli passport check," Menachem Zelichovsky, from the Airport Authority which oversees Israel's sensitive border crossings with Arab states, told Israel radio. "He hit five tourists before border guards shot back and killed him. It was all over very quickly."

The gunman, a truck driver from the predominantly Palestinian city of Zarqa, Jordan, passed through the Jordanian border terminal outside the port of Aqaba and crouched among trucks lined up at the Israeli terminal before opening fire on tourists waiting ahead of them.

The motives of the attacks were not immediately clear, but militants have pledged to attack Israeli interests and those supporting the Jewish state.