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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Hundreds mourn LA airport victims
Mourners at Victoria Hen's funeral
Shocked El Al employees joined Victoria Hen's funeral
Hundreds of people have turned out at two Los Angeles synagogues on Sunday for the funerals of two Israelis shot by an Egyptian limousine driver at the city's international airport on 4 July.

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet walked up to the El Al counter and began firing, killing ticket agent Victoria Hen, 25, and Yaakov Aminov, 46, a diamond importer who had accompanied a friend to the airport.


You have to understand, the whole Jewish community in Los Angeles is taking this very hard and they are showing it with their feet

Hen family spokesman, Joe Knoller
Five other people were also injured in the incident before Hadayet was himself shot dead by a security guard.

Security has been boosted at US airports following the incident, with the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) planning to post armed guards at airport ticket counters.

Body flown home

More than 1,000 people gathered at the Yad Avraham Synagogue for Aminov's funeral on Sunday morning.

"He was everything in a human being that can be good - kindness, helping everybody, smiling at everybody... He was something for all the community," Haim Cohen, a member of the congregation, said in a eulogy for the slain man.

Hesham Hadayet
Hadayet's motive is still unknown

After the two-hour service Aminov's coffin was taken to Los Angeles airport to be flown to Israel for burial.

Family members said they had begged Aminov not to go to the airport on the day he died as Americans had been warned about the possibility of terror attacks as the nation celebrated Independence Day.

Aminov, who emigrated from Israel to the US 14 years ago, was waiting with his friend near the El Al counter when he was shot.

He was the father of seven children, and his second wife Anat is pregnant with their sixth child.

Community enraged

At a later service about 500 people gathered at Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills for the funeral of fellow victim Victoria Hen.

Victoria Hen's boyfriend Yaron Cohen
Hen's boyfriend had been planning to propose

Among the mourners was Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, Israeli Consul General Yuval Rotem and as number of El Al officials.

Protesters and Jewish leaders participating demanded that the US authorities declare the shootings a terrorist incident.

As pallbearers carried her coffin from the service protesters held signs reading: "Stop this terrorism now."

During the funeral Mr Rotem criticised the Muslim community for failing to condemn the killings.

US officials have said that the shootings were an isolated incident, but many Israelis view them as an act of terrorism.

Family spokesman Joe Knoller said: "You have to understand, the whole Jewish community in Los Angeles is taking this very hard and they are showing it with their feet."

Armed guards

Hen was born in Israel and emigrated with her family to the US in 1990.

She began working at the El Al ticket counter just one month ago and was killed as she sat behind her desk.

Her boyfriend Yaron Cohen had planned to propose marriage on 5 July, Mr Knoller said.

Washington has moved quickly to plug what many security analysts believe is a big gap in airline security - the threat of attacks on ticket counters and other areas at airports which are easily accessible to the public, the BBC's Nick Bryant reports.

Both uniformed and plainclothes officers will now be posted at ticket counters to deter attacks.


Talking PointTALKING POINT
Airport security
What more needs to be done to tighten it up?
See also:

05 Jul 02 | Americas
05 Jul 02 | Americas
05 Jul 02 | Americas
02 Jul 02 | Americas
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