Elazar and Dovi, two brothers wounded in Saturday night’s shooting attack in Jerusalem, were reunited Sunday, hours after being hospitalized for their injuries.
The pair, 19 and 16, were rushed to the local hospitals for treatment, with Elazar told he had narrowly escaped death.
Eight people were injured in the shooting, two of them seriously. Following an hours-long manhunt, police said the assailant turned himself in along with the gun apparently used in the shooting.
The shooting occurred just outside Jerusalem’s Old City in the predawn hours of Sunday. The perpetrator apparently waited for the bus’s arrival and fired the shots while passengers were boarding, then fled on foot.
“My two brothers were together last night, waiting for the bus,” Yair, the pair’s older brother, told Channel 13 news. “Elazar helped a woman get on the bus, and my 16-and-a-half-year-old brother Dovi was still at the bus stop when the shooting started. Both were hit in the shoulder and were evacuated.”
Yair added: “When the incident happened, Dovi called himself and told us [the family] that they were both hit by a bullet, that he was conscious, and that he was quite well. It calmed us down.
“He even had time to say that Elazar was helping to treat the wounded at the scene, because he is a Magen David Adom first aid responder,” he said, referring to the emergency services operator.
“We were shocked and immediately left for the hospitals where they were hospitalized. Now Dovi has arrived and we have reunited,” Yair said from Hadassah Mount Scopus hospital. He said doctors told him that if the bullet had hit Elazar a few centimeters over, “he would not be alive.”
“It’s a real miracle,” he said.
Asaf Kedar, director of the trauma unit at Hadassah Medical Center Mount Scopus, said Elazar had suffered a fracture in his shoulder and would remain hospitalized for treatment for at least another day, Channel 13 reported.
Several US citizens were injured in the attack, among them Menachem Palace, 22, a member of the Chabad Hasidic movement from New York. Palace arrived on Friday as part of a trip organized by the Taglit Birthright program, which brings young Jews for visits to Israel.
“A few minutes after I got on the bus I heard the sound of shots,” Palace told media from Shaare Zedek Medical Center. “I looked to my right, next to the window I was sitting next to, and I saw that it was completely smashed. I quickly ducked down and saw blood on my shoulder.”
“People shouted Shema Yisrael,” Palace said, referring to a prayer that Jews traditionally recite when they believe their final moments have arrived. “It was a pretty scary sight, but thank God I didn’t feel a thing.”
He said ambulances quickly arrived and took the injured to the hospital.
“From all the adrenaline I didn’t notice that a bullet went into my shoulder,” said Palace, who was lightly injured. “At the hospital I did an X-ray and they took it out and now everything is okay.”
His friend, who was sitting next to him on the bus, was unharmed.
Four other US citizens were injured, all of them from a single family belonging to the Satmar Hasidic sect. One is in serious condition.
As the injured were being treated, a Jerusalem taxi driver unwittingly gave a ride to the suspected gunman as he took the cab to a police station to turn himself in.
Driver Shalom Harush said Amir Sidawi, 26, got into his taxi on Shmuel Bait Street in the capital, close to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, at 7:20 a.m.
“He wanted to go to the police station,” Harush said.
He had no idea he was driving a suspected terrorist, or that the gun allegedly used in the attack was in the young man’s bag.
Harush told the Walla news site that the uneventful ride lasted 12 minutes. Some time after dropping Sidawi off, he was surprised to be stopped by a patrol car. Unbeknown to Harush, Sidawi had left the gun on the floor of his car.
Police confiscated the vehicle for a few hours as they investigated.
Harush noted he was shaken by the experience of unknowingly driving a potential killer. “It’s not a good feeling,” he said.
Police are conducting ballistics checks to verify that the bullets fired at the bus came from the gun that Sidawi was carrying. Sidawi has a criminal past, according to Hebrew media reports.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has extended Sidawi’s remand until next Monday, August 22. His detention is expected to be extended further next week.
A relative of Sidawi who was also detained will remain in custody until Tuesday, police said.