Transcript of Terrorist Interrogation Reveals Details of Deadly Jerusalem Bus Attack
Chilling testimony from one of the perpetrators of the October 13 terrorist attack on a passenger bus in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood was given to Israel’s Walla news outlet, and released on Tuesday.
In the testimony, revealed during questioning primarily by two interrogators from Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency, one of the two terrorists who carried out the shooting and stabbing attack that killed two Israelis coolly described the evening that led up to what appeared to be a spontaneous decision to murder Jews:
“Baha [Eilan, the other attacker] came over to the cocktail bar where I was working the night before the attack. He told me that he had 2o,000 shekels and wanted to buy a gun. I asked him, ‘Why a gun?’ and he answered that he wanted to launch an attack against Jews. I told him that if he managed to get a gun, I’d carry out the attack with him,” explained Bilal Abu Ghanem.
Apparently, Abu Ghanem’s accomplice, Eilan, had no trouble obtaining the weapon. According to the testimony, Eilan managed to purchase a gun in the Palestinian town of Abu Dis, which borders Jerusalem but is under Palestinian civil and Israeli security control. The arms dealer has yet to be identified, Walla reported.
“Baha came that same morning and saw a knife in the shop. He said it would be suitable for a terrorist attack and took it with him. We went over to the store where Baha works and when we got there the first thing he showed me was the hand gun, its color, black. It was loaded with a 14-bullet cartridge. I lifted up the pistol and looked it over, and he taught me how to remove the safety. And that was it, I put the gun on my hip and we left. Baha grabbed the knife and placed it in his pants.”
Afterward, the two men waited nearby for Jerusalem bus line 78, which travels through both east and west Jerusalem.
“The bus wasn’t full,” Abu Ghanem continued, “and more passengers got on. When we reached the outskirts of Armon Hanatziv, Baha looked over in my direction and nodded his head, as if to say, ‘Begin.’ I took out the gun, cocked it and turned to the people sitting in the back of the bus and started shooting them. Baha turned forward and started stabbing. I saw an older man and another older woman and other people — I shot them and I saw they were wounded. Then I ran out of bullets.
“I waited for a policeman to come and kill me. Baha came to me and took the gun from me. The knife was still in his hand. The police came and Baha started to scare the police outside with the gun. The police started to shoot at us, hit me and I fell to the ground. I don’t know what happened after that.”
At one point the interrogators asked Abu Ghanem if he would have opened fire on the bus if there had been several Arabs on board. He replied that he didn’t think so.
“It was just me who fired shots during the attack. I fired and Baha stabbed,” he said.
When asked whether he was sorry for what he did, Abu Ghanem responded, “No.”
When asked by interrogators why he decided to launch a terrorist attack in the first place, Abu Ghanem responded: “Because of Al-Aqsa, because of the penetrations of Al-Aqsa and because of the kids the settlers are killing.”
Richard Lakin (76) and Haim Haviv (78) were killed by Abu Ghanem and Eilan — a known supporter of Hamas — in the attack, while 16 others were wounded. Eilan, 23, was shot dead at the scene of the attack while Abu Ghanem was taken into custody.