I heard screams, and turned to see a young girl lying on the street
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I heard screams, and turned to see a young girl lying on the street

A Times of Israel reporter witnesses a good-humored march turn into a bloody tragedy

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

An injured woman after a stabbing in Jerusalem on July 30, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)
An injured woman after a stabbing in Jerusalem on July 30, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

Along the stone sidewalks on Keren Hayesod Street in Jerusalem’s city center, a long line of people — mostly families and teens; a modestly dressed crowd far removed from the stereotype of most gay pride parades — marched in solidarity with Jerusalem’s small LGBTQ community.

I was dispatched to cover the march and take photographs for The Times of Israel.

Standing a few hundred yards from our Washington Street offices, watching what seemed to be a thoroughly good-natured procession, I heard screams from the center of the crowd. Turning around, I saw a young girl lying on the street. She was covered in blood.

I spun to my right and saw another bloodied person, a young man, probably in his 20s, also on the ground. To my left was yet another victim — a girl who again looked to be in her early 20s — surrounded by fellow marchers trying to reassure her and administer basic first aid.

Bloodstained sidewalk at the scene of a stabbing at the annual Jerusalem Pride Parade on July 30, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)
Bloodstained sidewalk at the scene of a stabbing at the annual Jerusalem Pride Parade on July 30, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

Down on Keren Hayesod Street, there was a mass of people flocking toward the center of the street, where police wrestled to the ground and apprehended the assailant — who, it was discovered later, is an ultra-Orthodox man released from prison three weeks ago after a 10-year sentence for a similar stabbing at Jerusalem’s 2005 pride parade.

An injured woman after a stabbing at the annual Jerusalem Pride Parade on July 30, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)
An injured woman after a stabbing at the annual Jerusalem Pride Parade on July 30, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

It took roughly five minutes for the first ambulance to arrive. Police tried to create a human barrier around each of the victims, stopping the swarm of marchers from interfering with the emergency rescue.

Participants of the gay pride parade in Jerusalem flee knifeman Yishai Schlissel, July 30, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Participants of the gay pride parade in Jerusalem flee knifeman Yishai Schlissel, July 30, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

The paramedics left with the six wounded, two in serious condition. A peculiar pause replaced the sirens, as the scene cleared and the chaos suddenly faded.

And then there seemed to be a collective decision by many to resume the march.

“As painful as it is, we have to keep going,” Yonat Birin, a 31-year-old marcher, told me before she rejoined the crowd. “This shows how important this fight is for gays and lesbians. We have to keep going.”

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