A soldier who intervened during a terror attack in a West Bank settlement last month will be awarded a “citation of praise” for his actions, the army announced Wednesday.
On July 21, a Palestinian terrorist, Omar al-Abed, entered the Halamish settlement in the central West Bank armed with a knife. He entered the home of the Salomon family, stabbing to death the father Yosef, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36. The mother, Tova, was seriously injured.
The staff sergeant, who can only be identified by the first Hebrew initial of his name, “Ayin,” as he serves in the army’s elite canine unit, lives next door to the Salomons, and upon seeing that the family was in trouble, he ran over with his pistol.
When the soldier saw “the terrorist fighting in the kitchen with Yossi Salomon (may his memory be blessed), he fired a single shot from outside the house, through a window, at the terrorist, stopping him,” the army said in a statement.
The terrorist, Omar al-Abed, was wounded.
“‘Ayin’ and his father, Shimon Maoz, entered the house, spotted the incapacitated terrorist, called for security forces and continued to clear the house” of possible threats, the military added.
According to the army, the staff sergeant’s “display of cool-headedness, willingness to charge [the terrorist] and dedication to the mission of stopping the terrorist, while displaying courage and consideration, led to the prevention of a greater tragedy.”
On Wednesday, the head of the Central Command, Maj. Gen. Roni Numa, accepted a request to grant “Ayin” an award for his actions.
The staff sergeant will receive a “citation of praise,” known in Hebrew by its acronym “Tzalash.” Such an award has four levels, depending on who grants it. “Ayin” will receive the second level of the award, presented by the head of the army’s Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Lior Carmeli.
The recommendation came from a committee led by Col. Ofer Hindi.
The “Tzalash” comes in the form of a green fabric pin, worn on the chest. As the staff sergeant’s citation is being awarded by a division commander, the ribbon will also feature a brass “X” made up of a sword crossing an olive branch.
In addition, Numa will present the soldier’s father with a certificate of appreciation for “showing courage, a willingness to charge and exemplary citizenship by helping stop the terrorist and preventing a greater tragedy,” the army said.
Last month, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman expressed his support for awarding “Ayin” a citation for his actions.
In a tweet, the minister wrote: “He is an exemplary soldier and I think he is deserving of a Tzalash.”
Commentators noted that the announcement that “Ayin,” who merely wounded the stabber, would be getting a citation came the same day as another IDF soldier, Elor Azaria, went to prison for killing an incapacitated Palestinian terrorist.