Soldier Who Shot Terrorist: Why Didn’t Anyone Else Open Fire?

YERUSHALAYIM -
The scene of the truck ramming attack Sunday afternoon in Armon Hanatziv. (Divuhey Harega)

The terrorist who ran down and killed four people and injured another 15 – all of them IDF soldiers – was shot by E., one of the leaders of the group that was on a tour of Yerushalayim, Sunday, when they were attacked by the terrorist driver of a truck. Police have slapped a gag order on details of the case, but E. was interviewed by Israeli reporters at the site of the attack, at a scenic walk in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.

In the interview, E. said that it was not clear to him why he was the only one to open fire on the terrorist. “I shot him with my personal weapon,” he told reporters. “I emptied my gun, and only then did other soldiers open fire.” E said that he had aimed at the terrorist, but was blinded by the sun, and did not get a direct hit on the terrorist right away – a situation that allowed him to back up and then proceed again, ramming into the crowd of soldiers a second time.

E. said that he feared that the verdict in the trial of IDF soldier Elor Azaria may have had an effect on the motivation of soldiers to shoot the terrorist. “I hate to think this way, but I feared that I might go on trial for shooting the terrorist. This situation reminds me of the Elor Azaria situation, who killed a dangerous terrorist as well. It took the soldiers here too long to open fire. I don’t understand what the hesitation was all about.”

E.’s comments were reiterated by MK Oren Chazan (Likud). “This latest terror attack is the direct result of the Azaria trial,” he said. “Unfortunately, the terrorists’ fear of the IDF has been damaged as a result of the public debate in Israel, and this is the kind of thing that encourages them to attack us, in the hope that soldiers and security forces will think twice before opening fire.

“Our hearts are torn at the tragedy,” Chazan said, calling on the Prime Minister and Defense Minister “to immediately issue a harsh statement about the responsibility of soldiers” in order to assure them that they will not be held liable for defending Israelis.

A military court last Wednesday convicted Elor Azaria of manslaughter in the final decision on the fate of the IDF soldier who shot a terrorist who had been neutralized after a shooting incident in Chevron last Purim. Azaria claimed that he feared that the terrorist had been carrying a bomb that he intended to explode even while he was on the ground.