A Border Police officer succumbed to wounds suffered during a shooting and stabbing attack near Jerusalem’s Old City Wednesday, after hours of efforts to save her life at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus failed.
The woman was identified as Hadar Cohen, 19, from Or Yehuda.
Cohen was rushed to hospital in critical condition after she was wounded in the attack shortly after 2 p.m. local time. Paramedics who treated her at the scene said she was fighting for her life.
Hospital officials said she was shot in the head. “We succeeded in stabilizing her condition for a time, but her head wound was so severe she never had a chance,” a hospital spokeswoman said.
Another policewomen was in serious but stable condition at the hospital, with wounds all over her body, including her head, the spokeswoman said.
The three attackers, identified as Ahmed Abou Al-Roub, Mohammed Kameel and Ahmad Rajeh Ismail Zakarneh, 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.
Border police officer, injured in the Damascus Gate attack, died of her wounds. Her name is Hadar Cohen, she was 19. pic.twitter.com/QRo2qQzdH6
— Judah Ari Gross (@JudahAriGross) February 3, 2016
A third victim, identified only as a 20-year-old Israeli, was lightly wounded and treated at the scene.
Cohen was drafted into the Border Police only two months ago, and was still in training as she patrolled the area outside Damascus Gate on Wednesday.
Cohen is survived by her parents, a brother and a sister.
Cohen was part of a three-member squad that spotted the three Palestinians behaving in a suspicious manner and asked to see their identification papers. As one attacker withdrew his ID card, the others opened fire and pulled out knives to attack the officers.
According to police, Cohen managed to return fire before she was mortally wounded, despite being surprised by the attackers.
After the attackers were killed by police forces who responded to the scene, police found pipe bombs on their person.
“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.”
Magen David Adom rescue service director Eli Bin said medics who arrived on the scene attempted to resuscitate Cohen. 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.
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.”
Avi Issacharoff and Marissa Newman contributed to this report.