David Stern, ex-Marine who fired back, says surviving terror shooting was ‘a miracle’
Speaking from his hospital bed, Israeli-American describes slowing his car to give right of way to a pedestrian, who then opened fire
David Stern, an Israeli-American man shot and badly injured on Sunday in a Palestinian terror attack, said Tuesday that it was a “miracle” that he managed to return fire and survive the attack.
Stern, a resident of the Itamar settlement in the northern West Bank, said he was driving with his wife on Route 60 through the Palestinian town of Huwara on their way to Jerusalem, when he stopped to give the right of way to a pedestrian, who then pulled out a gun and fired.
“I noticed he was blocking one hand in a very suspicious way,” Stern recalled from his hospital bed. “I immediately reached for my handgun, the terrorist turned toward us, and we started shooting, almost at the same time.”
Stern, a former US Marine, said that after he fired about 10 shots at his attacker, the latter fled. Stern drove a few hundred meters, stopped, and started bandaging himself before an ambulance arrived.
He was taken to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah in serious condition, but was later upgraded to moderate-to-serious. His wife was also taken to a hospital suffering from traumatic shock. She was not hit by the gunfire.
Stern on Tuesday thanked God, as well as the Israeli people “for the prayers and the support.”
He urged the government to reintroduce military checkpoints in the area, declaring, “We cannot go on like this. It was a miracle that we survived the attack, but what about the next family?”
The Israel Defense Forces has in the past operated a checkpoint at Huwara’s northern exit, near the entrance to the Palestinian city of Nablus.
The shooting that wounded Stern came exactly three weeks after two Israeli brothers were shot dead in a terror attack while driving through Huwara. In the wake of that attack, settlers staged a riot in the town, setting fire to homes and cars. In a nearby town, one Palestinian was shot dead in unclear circumstances.
Huwara has long been a flashpoint in the West Bank, as it is just about the only Palestinian town that Israelis regularly travel through in order to reach settlements.
There are plans to build a bypass road for settlers to avoid having to travel through Huwara, but the construction work has been stalled.
The earlier attack, on February 26, came as Israeli, Palestinian, American, Egyptian, and Jordanian officials convened in Aqaba for a meeting aimed to help foster regional calm. The shooting on Sunday came on the day of a similar meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, ahead of the sensitive Ramadan period, which begins at the end of this week.
Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 people dead, almost all of them Israelis, and several more seriously hurt.
At least 85 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.