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Boston professor’s daughter and son-in-law killed saving son from Hamas attack in Israel

The daughter and son-in-law of a Boston college professor died saving their son’s life during attacks by militant group Hamas in Israel.

Ilan Troen, professor of Israel studies at Brandeis University, told WBZ-TV that his daughter Deborah Matias, 50, and her husband Shlomi were among the more than 700 people killed in Israel over the weekend.

He said that his 16-year-old grandson Roten witnessed his own parents’ murders after Hamas militants broke into the family’s home.

“My grandson has witnessed the murder of his mother by people who rehearsed what they were doing,” Professor Troen said.

“The terrorists came into their place, broke through the doors, shot them.”

Deborah threw her body on top of her son to protect him as the Hamas militants shot at the family, he said.

“They made sure to fall on him and thereby saved his life. Although a bullet actually entered his abdomen, but he was saved,” he said.

Professor Troen, who was in Israel at the time of the attacks, rushed to hospital to be with his grandson, but the boy’s parents could not be saved.

“[Deborah and Shlomi] loved music, life, each other, their kids. I would ask him to think of the joy that they sought and had in their lives rather than the focus on that day,” Professor Troen said of Roten.

Ilan Troen, professor at Brandeis’s, daughter Deborah Shahar Troen Matias and her husband Shlomi Matias (Sourced)
Ilan Troen, professor at Brandeis’s, daughter Deborah Shahar Troen Matias and her husband Shlomi Matias (Sourced)

Brandeis University released a statement following the attacks, saying they were “deeply saddened” by the death of Professor Troen’s daughter and son-in-law.

The university said it condemned “in the strongest way” terrorism “perpetrated against innocent civilians”.

The statement read: “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. We condemn in the strongest way terrorism such as we have seen today perpetrated against innocent civilians.”

Ilan Troen (centre), Brandeis University professor, with daughter Deborah Shahar Troen Matias and her husband Shlomi Matias (Sourced)
Ilan Troen (centre), Brandeis University professor, with daughter Deborah Shahar Troen Matias and her husband Shlomi Matias (Sourced)

Hamas militants stormed into Israel early on Saturday morning, killing hundreds of people and taking dozens captive across the Gaza border.

Israel has said that more than 700 people have so far been killed by Hamas militants, with at least nine Americans among the dead.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials have said that more than 400 have been killed in retaliatory Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Thousands more people are believed to be injured while the number of individuals taken hostage by Hamas is currently unclear.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of war over the weekend and promised “mighty vengeance” on Israel’s attackers.

On Monday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered the “complete siege” of Gaza, saying authorities will cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel.

Sirens were sounded in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on Monday, with witnesses in the latter city hearing explosions that may have been from rocket impacts or from mid-air interceptions.