An American professor is mourning the loss of his daughter and son-in-law in the attacks in Israel over the weekend and is sharing a heartbreaking account of the ordeal, calling his daughter’s death "murder."
Professor Ilan Troen teaches Israel studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He is currently in Israel, but in a statement to Scripps News Troen described being on the phone with his daughter as militants descended on her home.
According to Troen, 50-year-old Deborah Matias and her husband, Shlomi, were killed by members of Hamas militant groups during Saturday’s attack on Israel.
"There was a call from Deborah announcing they were attempting to lock their home and 'safe room' since there was firing and shouts," Troen said.
Troen went on to say that his daughter’s final act of motherhood was defending her 16-year-old son, Rotem, who survived the attack.
"Rotem, who survived first under his parent’s bodies and notified us of their death, spent the next 12 hours or so hiding under a bed and later a blanket in the laundry room. His rescuers found him covered in a gray-to-black film from smoke in his house. [The house] was set on fire in the expectation that survivors could then be shot," Troen added.
The professor’s family was killed in the city of Be’er Sheva, located in southern Israel.
Troen’s story is one of hundreds that have played out as violence continues to ravage the region. On Monday, President Biden said at least 11 U.S. citizens were killed in the ongoing conflict in Israel.
A spokesperson for Brandeis University released a statement reading:
"We at Brandeis are deeply saddened to learn that Professor Troen has lost his daughter and son-in-law in the tragic events that are currently taking place in Israel. Ilan, a Brandeis alumnus, and his family have long been treasured members of the Brandeis community, and we hold Ilan, his wife Carol, and his entire family in our thoughts."
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