The condition of the security guard stabbed in the chest by a Palestinian terrorist at the entrance to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station Sunday has stabilized, doctors at Shaare Zedek Medical Center said Monday morning.
Asher Elmaliach, 46, sustained serious injuries when he was stabbed in the heart Sunday afternoon.
He showed early signs of awakening, but remains unconscious and connected to a respirator in the intensive care unit, a hospital spokesperson said.
Israeli security forces raided the home of the terrorist, 24-year-old Yassin Abu al-Qur’a, overnight Sunday in the West Bank town of Tubas near Nablus. The army said the forces interrogated his family members and searched for “incitement materials.”
Graphic video footage from the scene showed Abu al-Qar’a slowly handing his belongings to Elmaliach, who was checking travelers at the door to the station, before suddenly taking out a knife and plunging it into the guard’s chest.
Abu al-Qar’a then tried to flee the scene, but a police officer and civilians chased him and tackled him to the ground. Police denied media reports that the terrorist had been shot or killed. He was taken into custody for further questioning.
Medics said they tried to stop Elmaliach’s bleeding and applied bandages during the five-minute ambulance ride to the the capital’s Shaare Zedek medical center.
“The knife, unfortunately, hit his heart,” said Dr. Ofer Merrin, the head of trauma unit. “His condition has stabilized, but I cannot say that there’s no threat to his life because, like I said, he’s in serious condition.”
The 24-year-old Palestinian had a permit allowing him to work in the so-called “seam region,” surrounding the West Bank, but not inside Israel proper, the Shin Bet said.
He had no known terrorist ties, the security service added. Two of his brothers serve in the Palestinian Authority security forces, Hadashot TV news reported.
After he was subdued, Abu al-Qur’a was stripped to ensure he did not have a suicide vest or other weapon hidden under his clothes. Officers at the scene recovered the knife that was used in the attack.
The area around the bus station was closed off following the attack, but was later reopened to traffic.
Jerusalem Police Commissioner Yoram Halevi praised the officers and civilians who captured Abu al-Qur’a. “Their quick reaction led the arrest of the terrorist in a matter of seconds, and preventing further attacks on innocent people,” he said.
The stabbing comes amid heightened tensions in the region, after Palestinian groups called for mass demonstrations and a violent uprising in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In light of the unrest and potential for violence, additional police officers have been deployed throughout the city of Jerusalem.