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New video shows Druze cop’s key role in halting Har Nof terror attack

Footage filmed by a neighbor shows Zidan Saif firing into synagogue at terrorists, one of who runs out and shoots him from close range

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Israeli police are seen outside the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood after a terror attack there on November 18, 2014. (Yonatan Sindler/Flash90)
Israeli police are seen outside the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood after a terror attack there on November 18, 2014. (Yonatan Sindler/Flash90)

Footage of the fatal Tuesday Har Nof synagogue terror attack, broadcast on Israeli television Thursday, documents the death of Druze policeman Zidan Saif as well as the final moments of the shootout, when the two terrorists were killed by Israeli fire.

It indicates that Saif played a key role in ending the attack, firing from outside the synagogue at the terrorists inside, before one of them runs out and shoots him at close range.

The video, aired on Channel 2 on Thursday evening, was filmed by a neighbor across the street in the West Jerusalem neighborhood. In it, Saif — a traffic cop who was among the first policeman at the scene — is seen outside the synagogue, shooting into the building at the terrorists.

The two East Jerusalemites, armed with a gun, axes and meat cleavers, had been attacking and killing the Jewish worshipers at prayer for several minutes before the cops reached the scene. The clip shows that after Saif opens fire, one of the Palestinians emerges from the building, and shoots Saif from close range. The traffic cop then collapses. Saif later died of gunshot wounds to the head.

The TV report assesses that the gunman was injured by Saif’s fire. The terrorist falls down near a car, and is swiftly shot to death by the other policemen in the vicinity. The two terrorists were cousins from East Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood.

The second terrorist then runs out with a cleaver and is shot by police. The Israeli cops continue to fire at the terrorists for several seconds to ensure they are dead, the TV report said as the footage played.

The police then enter the synagogue, discovering the bodies of the four Jewish worshipers killed in the attack, and the several others injured.

Slain Druze policeman Zidan Saif, 30 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Slain Druze policeman Zidan Saif, 30 (photo credit: Courtesy)

An earlier clip of the incident, taken by a bystander, depicted the shootout between police and the terrorists. However, it was not clear from that video that the terrorists emerged from the building and were killed outside the synagogue.

Saif was evacuated from the scene in critical condition, and later succumbed to his wounds. Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, Rabbi Kalman Levine and Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg were killed inside the synagogue in the attack.

The rabbi of the synagogue eulogized Saif at his funeral for standing “like a wall” to protect the Jewish worshipers.

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