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May 9, 2022 1:46 pm

Palestinian Who Stabbed Officer at Damascus Gate Had Scanned Area, ‘Wanted to Harm Innocent Civilians,’ Officer Recalls

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Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai visits the area around Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City on May 8, 2022. Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

A knife-wielding Palestinian assailant who stabbed an Israeli border police officer outside the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday “wanted to harm innocent civilians,” said an officer who responded to the attack.

Sgt. “M,” who helped neutralize the terrorist who assaulted her colleague outside Damascus Gate, told Israel’s Channel 12 on Monday that it was clear “he did not want to harm officers, he wanted to harm innocent civilians — a victim who can’t respond.”

“That’s why he scanned the [area]” prior to launching the attack, she said. “I am happy that we sustained the hit, and not an innocent civilian. I think it proved to me that I can withstand any challenge like a fighter, and I can handle everything required.”

Another officer, Staff Sgt. Maj. “M” — who tussled with the terrorist and was stabbed in the neck and left ear during the altercation — recounted the incident while recovering at Hadassah Hospital.

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The assailant had been behaving suspiciously, including after he was engaged for questioning, Staff Sgt. Maj. “M” recalled in an interview with Channel 12. “Suddenly, the terrorist pulled out a knife and lunged on me and my friends, with the intention of hurting us. I lunged in response and in his first swipe of the knife, he injured me.”

The officer, who is expected to be discharged from the hospital in the coming days, said his friends on the team “operated in the most amazing way I could imagine. The fighters sought contact [with the terrorist] and tried not to hurt me. I was worried that if I got up, the terrorist would try to attack me or one of my friends once again.”

He described grappling with the terrorist, saying, “you see everything, but your brain works on autopilot: I understood that it’s either me or him, and I couldn’t let go in order to save the lives of my friends and of civilians. I understood that no matter what happens — I cannot remove my hands from the terrorist.”

Staff Sgt. Maj. “M” said he joined the border police after three years of service in the Israel Defense Forces and an officers’ course. “After I recover, I want to continue in the defense establishment and to return to normal, God willing,” he said.

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, who paid the officer a bedside visit, commended him and his team on their instincts. “Your combined efforts saved the lives of many civilians,” Shabtai said.

Staff Sgt. Maj. “E,” the team’s commander, called the injured officer’s response to the attack “an act of great daring and courage.”

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