Soldiers hesitated before opening fire on truck driver, guide says
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Soldiers hesitated before opening fire on truck driver, guide says

Man who shot at terrorist says lives might have been saved if troops had reacted sooner, references Elor Azaria; IDF: Several soldiers opened fire

Eitan Rond speaking to reporters from Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem on January 8, 2017. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Eitan Rond speaking to reporters from Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem on January 8, 2017. (screen capture: Channel 2)

Soldiers who were targeted in Monday’s truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem might have prevented some of the loss of life and injury if they had not hesitated in opening fire on the terrorist, according to the tour guide who was with them and helped bring down the driver. The army said its initial investigations showed several soldiers opened fire.

The truck rammed into a group of soldiers on a promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, killing at least four of them and wounding at least 15 others.

The driver of the vehicle was shot by both the soldiers and by their civilian guide, police said. He died of his wounds.

But the guide said the soldiers, cadets from the officers’ training school, had hesitated.

The scene of a truck-ramming attack in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of East Jerusalem on January 8, 2016. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
The scene of a truck-ramming attack in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of East Jerusalem on January 8, 2016. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

“I’m a tour guide, I was supposed to be guiding groups of youths. We didn’t even manage to say hello before it all happened. I don’t understand why 40 soldiers who were there did not shoot,” the guide, Eitan Rund.

“It’s not pleasant to say, but there could have been a lot fewer wounded,” he said, adding that he fired 12 bullets at the driver, emptying his clip, but even then “he was not neutralized.”

“After I decided to open fire at him, several soldiers also opened fire. He took a breath and carried on running people over,” he said.

“Lives could have been saved,” he said.

Rund, who was lightly injured in the attack, referenced the case of Elor Azaria, a soldier recently convicted of manslaughter for killing a wounded and supine Palestinian stabber, as a possible reason behind the troops not grabbing their weapons right away.

Security camera footage of the incident shows chaos as soldiers scramble for cover and run away while the driver tries to reverse back into them.

Initial investigation indicated that several of the soldiers opened fire on the terrorist, the IDF said.

Police chief Roni Alsheich called the incident a vehicular terror attack.

The Ben Zvi Institute, which was conducting the educational tour for the soldiers, said there was a group of 300 officer cadets there at the time and that the attack happened right at the start of the event.

“The Ben Zvi Institute is horrified at the attack on innocent participants and wish the injured a speedy recovery,” the institute said, adding that it was sure it would not “prevent many tours from taking place in Jerusalem.”

The soldiers were visiting the capital as part of the army’s “Culture Sundays,” in which troops are taken to important historical and national sites at the beginning of the week.

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