An off-duty IDF soldier who shot and wounded the Palestinian terrorist behind the deadly stabbing attack in Halamish Friday evening, in which three Israelis were killed, recounted the events Saturday.
Identified only as Sgt. A., from the IDF’s elite canine special forces unit, the soldier said he heard the screams of the victims at the nearby home, ran to the window of the house and shot and wounded the killer.
“I understood immediately what was happening — I saw the terrorist and shot him through the window,” he said, according to Channel 2 news.
“I understood the situation thoroughly,” he repeated. “I shot into [the house] from outside. I didn’t think a lot, I acted immediately.”
The soldier also described the incident in a interview.
The terrorist, Omar al-Abed, was wounded by the shooting and was evacuated to hospital in moderate condition. Through his actions, the soldier may have prevented further bloodshed.
Remarkably, Friday was not A.’s only experience of stopping Palestinian infiltrators. In the summer of 2014, during Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, A. helped stop a violent break-in at his family’s home in the West Bank settlement.
According to the Ynet news website, A. had in that incident arrived home to find two Palestinians in his house rifling through the kitchen drawers. The two had beaten his sister and her boyfriend and locked them in a room. A. managed to frighten them off and called the settlement’s emergency response team to the scene.
Although police never determined whether the incident was criminal or an attempted terror attack, A.’s sister Noa is convinced that they sought to carry out an attack.
“A miracle happened to us,” she told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily at the time.
According to a preliminary investigation of Friday’s attack, the assailant, 19-year-old al-Abed from the nearby village of Kobar, arrived at the settlement on foot armed with a knife, climbed a fence and chose the last house on a street near it.
Abed broke a window and entered the home, surprising a family of about 10 inside as they were finishing their dinner, and launched his stabbing spree.
During the attack, another daughter hid several of the grandchildren in one of the rooms, where she called police and began shouting that a terrorist was inside the home.
Paramedics said the the victims, a father in his 60s, his son in his 40s, and his daughter in her 40s, died of their wounds. The mother, in her 60s, was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in serious condition.
Security forces said they were looking for any additional suspects in the Halamish attack.