A 16-year old girl killed in the Netanya gas explosion Thursday night was laid to rest Friday afternoon at a local cemetery. Two other girls were killed along with her, and the fourth victim was 28-year-old Mohammed Abu Ata from Wadi Ara.
Police investigating the case have found that the girls were apparently killed after picking up Sabbath candles from the local Chabad center, which they planned to hand out to city residents.
"My daughter went out with her friends yesterday to eat pizza. They were a group of five. I told her to be home by 11 pm, so she took a cab home. A half hour later the blast occurred – her friends were killed but she was saved," said Serge Finkelstein.
"On Fridays and holidays the girls hand out Sabbath candles, and today they were supposed to hand them out too… My daughter is still in shock. She's crying all the time."
Rabbi Yaakov Mazuz, who runs the Netanya Chabad center, told Ynet the girls would attend French-language classes in the city center. "We're really broken up about this," he said.
Mazuz added that he had seen them at class on Thursday evening, and that they had later gone to eat and then hand out candles. "According to what I heard yesterday, after they went out to eat they started to hand out candles and then this horrible incident happened," he said.
"These are young girls – holy souls, great souls. All of Netanya was at the funeral, they entire French community. Everyone knows the family, they are good and quiet people."
The blast, which occurred 20 minutes after midnight, injured 90 people, four of whom are still hospitalized. Police continue to investigate allegations made by residents, who say they called the municipality a number of times Thursday evening to complain about a possible gas leak in the building, after smelling gas.
The two suspects arrested in connection with the explosion – a PazGaz technician who reportedly inspected the building's gas tanks mere hours before the deadly blast and a man spotted in the vicinity of the building and later arrested on suspicion of metal theft – were remanded on Friday and will remain in police custody for now.