‘They Ran Toward the Truck and Shot the Terrorist,’ Says Wounded Survivor of Deadly Jerusalem Vehicle-Ramming Attack in Defense of Comrades Accused of Cowardice
One of the IDF cadets who survived the truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem earlier this month, and completed the first part of their officers’ course on Tuesday afternoon, defended her comrades accused of cowardice, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
Sarah, 26, one of the cadets wounded in the January 8 attack, which left four of her peers dead, said that though she cannot remember the exact details of the incident — and only vaguely recalls being put in an ambulance on a stretcher and waking up in the hospital with a dislocated and broken shoulder — she knows for certain that the members of her company behaved courageously.
“The first thing I thought after realizing we had been in a terrorist attack was, ‘OK, I’m lucky to be alive.’ …But later, I realized that we lost friends…,” she said, adding that she has since learned all the details of what happened that day. For example, that it took 29 seconds from start to finish, and that her friends “ran towards the truck’s windshield and shot at the terrorist, preventing a much greater tragedy. It was resourcefulness with a great amount of bravery. Of that there is no doubt. I don’t know how to explain the criticism.”
She was referring to the public outcry in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and security camera footage showing what appeared to be a whole slew of armed IDF soldiers running away from the scene — raising questions about whether Israel’s rules of engagement and purity of arms had gone too far.
Sarah, from the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron, joined the IDF after completing national service and degrees in communications and political science at Bar-Ilan University. Her current military role is one that may not be disclosed.
The victims of the attack at the Haas Promenade in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, perpetrated by 28-year-old Fadi al-Qanbar from the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of east Jerusalem — declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be an ISIS supporter — were: 20-year-old Lt. Yael Yekutiel of Givatayim; 22-year-old cadet Shir Hajaj of Ma’aleh Adumim; 20-year-old cadet Shira Tzur of Haifa; and 20-year-old cadet Erez Orbach of Alon Shvut. The four were taking part in an educational tour in the nation’s capital when the attack took place.