A security guard who was stabbed in the heart during a terror attack at Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station was released Sunday from the hospital, with doctors describing his condition as very good.
Asher Elmaliach, 46, who sustained critical injuries when he was stabbed on December 10, had been hospitalized as Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital.
Elmaliach “is being released today in very good overall condition and is transferring to rehabilitation for physical strengthening,” the hospital said in a statement that noted that he had asked for his privacy to be respected by the media.
The security guard, who suffered injuries to his heart and lungs, spent weeks on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, or ECMO, which takes strain off the heart and lungs by performing some of their functions, namely removing carbon dioxide from the blood and resupplying it with oxygen.
The attacker, 24-year-old Yassin Abu al-Qar’a, was charged December 28 with “a terrorist act of attempted murder” and entering Israel illegally.
Graphic video footage from the scene of the attack showed 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.
According to the charge sheet, on the morning of the attack, al-Qar’a “said goodbye to his loved ones on the phone,” purchased a knife and illegally traveled to Israel in order to carry out a terror attack in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israel of capital a few days earlier.
After hearing Trump’s announcement, “the defendant planned to stab as many Jews as possible until he was killed and turned into a martyr,” the indictment read.
Al-Qar’a, from Wadi al-Fara, outside Nablus, bought the knife in another town in the northern West Bank, hid it in his coat, and made his way to the city of Hadera, taking advantage of a permit that allowed him to enter the “seam zone” along the border of the West Bank though but not Israel proper.
Concerned about traveling on a public bus without a legitimate permit allowing him to be in Israel, al-Qar’a paid NIS 500 ($140) for a cab ride from Hadera to Jerusalem.
During the ride, he wrote a will on his phone, based on what he’d been taught in Palestinian Authority schools, according to the indictment.
Once he reached Jerusalem, a little after 2 p.m., al-Qar’a approached the central bus station.
He was stopped at the door by Elmaliach, who asked him to go through a metal detector before entering. The detector went off repeatedly, as al-Qar’a had the knife hidden in his coat.
At that point, the charge sheet said, al-Qar’a determined that Elmaliach was Jewish and “decided to stab him to death.”