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January 23, 2015 4:00 pm

Following Terror Stabbing Spree, Bus Drivers to Get Anti-terror Training

avatar by Dave Bender

Medics treating victim of Tel Aviv bus stabbing attack. Photo: 0404 News.

Medics treating victim of Tel Aviv bus stabbing attack. Photo: 0404 News.

The Israel Police, Counter-Terrorism Bureau, and Transport Ministry have decided to promote a plan to train bus drivers on coping with terror attacks on their vehicles, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported, in the wake of a Palestinian stabbing rampage on a Tel Aviv bus yesterday.

Ten thousand drivers are to be trained to identify suspects and confront would-be attackers if necessary, in addition to being allowed to frisk suspicious passengers, according to the plan.

Israeli police shot and wounded the Palestinian terrorist who stabbed 16 people during the attack on a commuter bus in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

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On Thursday, the three agencies gave the go-ahead for the security course plan, first announced in August, which will include identifying suspicious passengers, recognizing explosives, suspicious bags, and techniques for disabling an attacker.

The program, which is estimated to cost several million shekels, had been proposed in the past, and will now be sent to the Treasury for approval and financing from the Transport Ministry budget.

During Operation Protective Edge, drivers throughout the south also had to deal with safely ferrying passengers under rocket and mortar fire, including mastering pulling to a safe stop in seconds and getting passengers down on the floor to reduce possible injury from shrapnel, and flying glass.

“The anti-terror workshop will enable drivers to better deal with attempted terror attacks,” Minister Yisrael Katz said of the new plan at the time.

This morning, doctors at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital said there had been a significant improvement in the condition of Herzl Biton, 40, the driver who fought with the 23-year-old assailant on Wednesday, as he got on the Dan Cooperative bus.

Before he passed out from loss of blood after struggling with the terrorist, Biton called his boss and asked him to look after his children in the event that he succumbed to his injuries.

“Herzl called me and said, ‘A terrorist boarded my bus and is stabbing people,'” Dan traffic division chief, Dan Katzis told Ch. 2, recalling the traumatic call he received at about 07:30 am.

“[Biton] said, ‘I’m going to die, if I die – take care of my children.'”

Palestinian terrorists affiliated with Hamas, Fatah, and other groups have perpetrated dozens of terror bombings and other violent attacks on buses since the 1990s, killing hundreds of Israelis.

In 2004, after a series of particularly grisly suicide bombings, the Egged bus cooperative tested out one-way turnstiles to enter and exit the vehicles in Jerusalem, an idea which was later dropped due to technical issues, and the inconvenience for innocent passengers.

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