Bus driver in Tel Aviv stabbing attack recalls struggle with terrorist
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Bus driver in Tel Aviv stabbing attack recalls struggle with terrorist

Herzl Biton had ‘no choice’ but to save passengers from Palestinian assailant; in security breach, terrorist filmed, cursed in the hospital

Bus driver Herzl Biton, who confronted a Palestinian stabber during an attack in Tel Aviv, Wednesday, January 21, 2015 (screen capture: Channel 2)
Bus driver Herzl Biton, who confronted a Palestinian stabber during an attack in Tel Aviv, Wednesday, January 21, 2015 (screen capture: Channel 2)

Herzl Biton, the driver who fought a Palestinian terrorist during a stabbing attack on a Tel Aviv bus on Wednesday in which 17 people were injured, recalled on Saturday the fierce struggle between the two as the attack was underway.

“I had no choice. I had to save the passengers. He stabbed me while I was driving and then went to the center of the bus and began stabbing passengers,” Biton said in a conversation, aired on Channel 10, with the CEO of the Dan bus company where he works. Biton said he began swerving the bus from side-to-side in order to alert others outside of the ongoing 7:30 a.m. attack; his maneuvering, however, did not prevent the assailant from moving throughout the bus and hurting passengers, he said.

“I had no choice but to bring him back over to me. I slammed on the brakes and he flew towards me like a bird. I then jumped out of the chair, grabbed his left hand and started to spray him with pepper spray,” continued Biton.

The terrorist, Hamza Matrouk from the West Bank refugee camp of Tulkarem, was resolute in his attack and did not stop after Biton charged him, he said: “I punched him and he punched me back.”

Amidst the struggle with the 23-year-old attacker, Biton, 62, managed to get the doors of the bus open, enabling passengers to flee. “The was a pool of blood next to me and he slipped. He left the bus and started running in the direction of Yitzhak Sadeh street. I got off the bus and started chasing him,” added Biton.

Israeli forensics examine the scene of an attack after a Palestinian man stabbed several people on a Tel Aviv bus on January 21, 2015. (photo credit:AFP/JACK GUEZ)
Israeli forensics examine the scene of an attack after a Palestinian man stabbed several people on a Tel Aviv bus on January 21, 2015. (photo credit:AFP/JACK GUEZ)

Matrouk chased after passengers and pedestrians following his rampage on the bus, stabbing a woman who escaped the turmoil. He was later shot and apprehended by the police. He remains hospitalized at Wolfson Medical Center in Bat Yam.

On Saturday, a video of the hospitalized Matrouk circulated on social media, in which an unidentified person, wielding a camera phone, walks up to him and tells him to “smile for the camera, you shit.” The incident constituted a serious security breach, as Matrouk is supposed to be under heavy guard as an intelligence asset to the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency). The Shin Bet told Channel 2 the agency was not responsible for Matrouk’s security, blaming police for the breach, who in turn blamed military police.

#شاهد .. صهيوني يسرب فيديو للبطل حسن متروك " 23 عاما " من طولكرم منفذ عملية الطعن بحافلة في "تل أبيب" صباح الأربعاء الماضي والتي أسفرت عن إصابة 17 صهيونيا بجراح من بينهم 6 في حالة الخطر .. حيث تمكن من الفرار إلا أن جنود العدو لاحقوه في الشوارع المحطية وأطلقوا عليه النار واعتقلوه وهو الآن يقبع في مستشفى صهيوني تحت حراسة مشددة .. ويقول الصهيوني مسرب الفيديو " سيمضي بقية عمره في السجن" … تفاصيل العملية .. وكان 17 صهيونيا أصيبوا في عملية طعن نفذها الشاب متروك من الضفة الغربية المحتلة على متن إحدى حافلات شركة "دان" الإسرائيلية وسط "تل أبيب" في حين أصيب المنفذ بجراح وتم اعتقاله.وذكر موقع "معاريف" العبري أن شاباً هاجم ركاب الحافلة بالسكين وأصاب 6 منهم بجراح خطرة من بينهم سائق الحافلة و5 بحالة متوسطة فيما أصيب6 بجراح طفيفة قبل إطلاق النار عليه وإصابته بجراح .ووقعت العملية في شارع "بيغين" بتل أبيب وفي ساعة الذروة وتحت جسر "معاريف" وبعد هروب المنفذ من الحافلة قام بطعن عدد آخر من المارة بشارع " همسغير" القريب قبل إطلاق النار عليه واعتقاله. وفي التفاصيل نقلت صحيفة "معاريف" العبرية عن شهود عيان قولهم أن شابا في مقدمة الحافلة بدأ بطعن الركاب وسائق الحافلة وبدأ الجميع بالصراخ والعويل قبل أن يوقف السائق الحافلة ويبدأ الركاب بالهرب من الأبواب وسط حالة من الذعر والخوف .وتمكن المنفذ وهو من سكان مدينة طولكرم بحسب المصادر الصهيونية من الهرب من الحافلة وطعن المزيد في شارع قريب قبل أن يلاحقه مجموعة من جنود وحدة" نحشون" التابعة لمصلحة السجون ويطلقوا عليه النار ويصيبوه بجراح طفيفة في رجليه.

Posted by Shehab News Agency on Saturday, 24 January 2015

Matrouk was reported to have illegally crossed from the West Bank into Israel several days before the attack, and told interrogators that he carried it out in retaliation for Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer and the recent unrest on the Temple Mount. He also said that he was motivated by watching radical Islamic television programs, and spoke of “reaching paradise.”

WARNING: Graphic content.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdQikZa3S4g

Biton, who was in critical condition following the stabbing, underwent life-saving surgery at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, where he is currently recuperating.

Rafael Shmuel, the CEO of the Dan bus company that operates Line 40, commended Biton for his actions. “We are very proud of you and all that you have done. A simply heroic act. Have a speedy recovery. All of us here at the Dan family and myself are with you.”

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