True to the spirit of the day, Asara BeTevet, the 10th of Tevet, one of the saddest days in the Jewish calendar, a Palestinian terrorist took the Israeli-licensed truck that he himself was licensed to drive, and rammed it into a group of off-duty soldiers on the Talpiot Promenade, killing four of them and injuring dozens more. In shockingly brutal fashion, he then reversed his truck round and ran over the victims once more.
A truck rammed into a group of soldiers on a promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, killing at least four of them, in a vehicle-ramming attack on Sunday afternoon, police said.
Police chief Roni Alsheich called the incident a vehicular terror attack.
The soldiers were getting off a bus at the promenade, a popular tourist spot in southern Jerusalem, when a large flatbed truck ran into them.
At least 16 more people were injured, two of them very seriously, according to Jerusalem hospitals.
The four soldiers — three women and one man — were later named as Lieutenant Yael Yekutiel (20) of Givatayim, Cadet Shir Hajaj (22) of Maaleh Adumim, Cadet Shira Tzur (20) from Haifa, and Cadet Erez Orbach (20) from Alon Shvut.
According to police, the terrorist accelerated as he struck the group.
Eyewitnesses said that after the driver hit the soldiers with his truck, he put the vehicle in reverse and ran over them a second time.
Footage of the incident taken from a security camera showed the truck run into the group of soldiers as they stood next to a bus. The driver then attempts to turn the truck around and run over the group again as people scramble for cover.
Warning! Graphic video follows:
The driver of the vehicle was shot by both soldiers and by a civilian guide, police said. He died of his wounds.
“In a fraction of a second during which I was speaking with one of the officers, I saw the truck plowing into us. After a few rolls on the grass I saw the truck start to reverse and then I already understood that this was not an accident. I felt that my pistol was still on me, so I ran up to him and started emptying my clip. He went in reverse and again drove over the injured,” the guide, Eitan Rund, said.
The heroic guide asks – and answers – a very pertinent question:
Speaking to Israeli television, Rund questioned why soldiers hesitated, he said, before turning their own weapons on the driver. “I have to ask why it took a 30-year-old civilian to fire first,” he said, “when there were well-armed officers” present. He asserted that last week’s conviction for manslaughter of soldier Elor Azaria, who shot dead a disarmed, injured Palestinian assailant, was “definitely” a factor in the ostensible hesitation.
This answer, and the ostensible evidence in the video above, should be a shame for the IDF, and testament to the insidiousness of the delegitimization campaign against Israel and any attempts at self-defence by the IDF or even civilians.
However, an IDF investigation refutes the initial impression of fleeing soldiers, and says that the cadets did indeed open fire at the terrorist:
An investigation conducted by the IDF following Sunday’s murderous truck attack at the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem has found that a number of cadets opened fire at the terrorist, at which point one of the commanders ordered the rest of the cadets to take cover and stay away from the scene.
The investigation comes amid allegations that the soldiers who were at the scene were afraid to shoot at the terrorist who perpetrated the attack, in which an officer and three cadets were murdered.
There were hundreds of soldiers in the area when the attack occurred, about to take part in an educational program about Jerusalem as part of their training. The Haas Promenade, where the attack took place, overlooks the historic City of David. Surveillance footage showed many of the soldiers running away from the scene after the attack began.
On Sunday evening, however, Noam Kadar, a cadet who was present at the scene of the attack, rejected those allegations and said that the soldiers’ running from the terrorist had nothing to do with the Azariya case.
“Please stop listening to unsubstantiated reports by those who run to publicize rubbish and distorted information. Please stop spreading views which are based on baseless lies. Please stop trying to sell psychological explanations about what went on when I saw a truck run over my friends. OK?” Kadar wrote on Facebook.
“Don’t any of you dare to compare a semitrailer driving at 100 kilometers an hour (60 miles an hour) to a terrorist lying prone. Nobody was scared to shoot, people were scared to be run over because a terrorist had run amok with murder in his eyes,” she added.
No one can judge these soldiers or anyone else in the vicinity until they have been in their shoes.
The four victims of the attack will be laid to rest tomorrow:
One of the soldiers murdered in the ramming attack which occurred today in Jerusalem has been identified as 20-year-old Erez Orbach of Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc (Gush Etzion) south of Jerusalem, a cadet at the officer’s training school.
Corporal Erez Orbach Hy”d (may G-d avenge his blood) is the son of Keren and Uri Orbach, the oldest of six children. After studying at the Neve Shmuel Yeshiva High School in Efrat, part of the Ohr Torah Network headed by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, he went to study at the Hesder Yeshiva in Maalot and enlisted for his army service.
After his death his rank was raised posthumously to Second Lieutenant. He will be laid to rest Monday at 11 A.M. at the Kfar Etzion cemetery.
Shira Tzur Hy”d, 20, of Haifa, a cadet at the officer’s training school, was also raised posthumously to the rank of Second Lieutenant.
Second Lieutenant Shir Hajaj Hy”d, 22, of Maale Adumim, was posthumously raised to the rank of First Lieutenant. She will be laid to rest Monday at 2 P.M. at the Har Herzl Military Cemetery.
Second Lieutenant Yael Yekutiel Hy”d, 20, of Givatayim, was posthumously raised to the rank of First Lieutenant.
May their families be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. May their memories be for a blessing.
ה’ יקום דמם. יהי זכרם ברוך
And as usual, our sick “peace partners the Palestinians” went out to celebrate the “heroism” of their “martyr”, handing out sweets and setting off fireworks.
Molly Livingstone posted on Facebook:
As though the tragedy and terrorism is not enough…here is the expected celebrations in the Arab village, Jabul Mukabar next door. This is the village the terrorist came out of today, and where many terrorist before him. Notice the police booth on the edge of my neighborhood, just to the right are the homes that have been attacked since the war in the summer of 2014. They have endured endless nights of riots, molotov cocktails, rocks and these celebrations.
The cycle doesn’t end until you choose to celebrate life and not death.
Please share to choose life with me.
#IsraeliLivesMatter #IAmHere #ArmonHanatziv #MyHome #Jerusalem #Survivors #LifeIsBeautiful
The terrorist’s sister is “thankful for his martyrdom” and in Gaza they were handing out sweets:
Israel’s public security minister says we won’t return the terrorist’s body to his family but (bla bla bla) I’ll believe it when I see it. Lately I have zero faith in any Israeli politician.
But I have even less faith in the Palestinian leadership which shows not the slightest tendency towards a wish for normalization, or even the slightest sense of humanity. When an act of cold blooded murder can be celebrated by their citizens with the active encouragement of their political leadership, how can anyone talk about peace? Or have the gall to blame the lack of peace on Jewish houses in Judea and Samaria?