Probe into deadly Damascus Gate attack said to fault officers
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Probe into deadly Damascus Gate attack said to fault officers

June 16 shooting and stabbing spree by three Palestinian terrorists that killed Sgt. Hadas Malka could have been prevented, investigators find

Border Police officer Hadas Malka, who was killed on June 16, 2017, in a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. (Courtesy)
Border Police officer Hadas Malka, who was killed on June 16, 2017, in a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. (Courtesy)

The police investigation into the June 16 terror attack at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate that killed Sgt. Hadas Malka revealed operational and equipment shortcomings that may have had a role in the attack’s tragic outcome, Channel 2 reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the group of three Palestinian assailants planned to attack only one Border Police position, a force of six officers stationed at Zedekiah’s Cave near the gate. The three men planned to shoot and stab all six police officers.

During the attack itself, the makeshift firearm held by one of the assailants jammed. The officers responded quickly, investigators said, neutralizing and killing two attackers almost at once, but the third fled the scene toward Damascus Gate.

Outside the gate, the Border Police force deployed there was not ready for an attack, the probe found.

Despite standing orders to maintain a 360-degree watch at the site, all the officers on the scene were looking away from the gate when the attacker came running through it and was able to approach Sgt. Malka from behind as she stood on Sultan Suleiman Street. He stabbed her repeatedly in the neck.

Israeli security forces at the scene of a terror attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on June 16, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli security forces at the scene of a terror attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on June 16, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Malka fought back against the assailant, attempted to draw her firearm and turn to face the assailant, but quickly collapsed. She was rushed in critical condition to Hadassah Hospital – Mount Scopus, where she underwent emergency surgery, a Border Police statement said at the time, but succumbed to her wounds and died on the operating table.

The attacker was killed by the other officers in Malka’s squad.

“The tragic result of this attack was due to the failure in the force’s deployment and the lack of personal armor,” Channel 2 quoted from the preliminary report.

Israeli forensic police check the body of a Palestinian assailant outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on June 16, 2017 following a terror attack in which Israeli policewoman Hadas Malka was stabbed to death. (AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX)
Israeli forensic police check the body of a Palestinian assailant outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 16, 2017, following a terror attack in which Israeli policewoman Hadas Malka was stabbed to death. (AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX)

The Israel Police said in response to the Channel 2 report that the investigation is not finished, and its final conclusions will be presented to the police high command.

On Sunday, police announced they had arrested a Palestinian man who arranged transportation for the three terrorists, who entered Jerusalem illegally to carry out the attack. He was arrested last week, joining three others who are being held — a 52-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya who drove the three, and the parents of the man who stabbed Malka to death.

Police said the parents, residents of the West Bank village of Deir Abu Mashal near Ramallah, are suspected of incitement to further terror attacks because of statements they made after the incident in which they expressed support for attacks on Jews.

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