Policewoman Hadar Cohen was killed and a second policeman badly wounded when three Palestinians shot and stabbed them outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday afternoon.
The three, identified by the Palestinian news agency Ma’an as Ahmed Abou Al-Roub, Mohammed Kameel and Mohammed Nassar, all hailing from the northern West Bank, arrived at the scene armed with apparently locally fabricated “Carl Gustav” rifles, knives and two pipe bombs, police said. Police initially suspected a third item found at the scene was a bomb, but sappers determined it was an abandoned bag.
Cohen, 19, was rushed to a hospital in critical condition with multiple wounds to her upper body. She died several hours later.
The second policewoman, with serious injuries, was not identified
A third victim, identified only as a 20-year-old Israeli, was very lightly wounded and treated at the scene.
The attack began when team of border police spotted the three Palestinians and asked to see their identification papers. As one attacker withdrew his ID card, the others attacked the officers with guns and knives.
“As far as we can tell from the armaments, [the terrorists] planned a larger, more sophisticated attack,” Jerusalem Deputy Police Chief Avshalom Peled said. “This is an escalation from what we’ve seen thus far. The police officers prevented a combined and much larger attack.”
Paramedics with the Magen David Adom ambulance service said they treated the two women on the scene, then evacuated them to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus. One victim was in critical condition after suffering several stab wounds, the paramedics said. The other was in serious condition.
MDA director Eli Bin said that medics attempted to resuscitate the woman who was in critical condition. He told Channel 2 that she had been stabbed in the neck multiple times and had lost a lot of blood.
“When we arrived at the scene we saw two young women, approximately 20 years old, lying on the ground with puncture wounds to the upper body. One was unconscious, the other was still conscious but dazed,” MDA paramedic Nissan Hefetz said.
A spokeswoman for Hadassah said the critically hurt victim was fighting for her life. The second victim had wounds all over her body, including her head, but was in stable condition.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited the scene shortly after the attack.
“I had a chance to speak to our brave warriors, who were not afraid to engage” the terrorists, he said at the scene. “This was a real battle. In this battle, the police and Border Police officers of Jerusalem prevented a much larger disaster. Their readiness allowed them to [quickly] engage [the attackers] and save lives. The public in Jerusalem must keep their eyes open, and not hesitate to engage [attackers]. That readiness will prevent attacks.”
Two of the attackers were from Qabatiya in the northern West Bank, and the third was from nearby Jenin. Police said they were all 20-21 years old.
According to the Shin Bet, they had no prior involvement in terror activities.
In a statement Wednesday, Hamas congratulated the “unique and heroic operation,” describing it as a “blow to the security system of the occupation.”
Police sealed off the area around Damascus Gate to examine a suspicious package after the attack and neutralized two pipe bombs, a police spokesman said.
Avi Issacharoff and Marissa Newman contributed to this report.