‘Khoury, watch out!’ Police body cam footage shows shootout with Bnei Brak terrorist
Clip shows officers rushing to scene of attack, firing on assailant; Gantz approves administrative detention of two East Jerusalem men for alleged Hamas ties
Police on Wednesday released body camera footage of the shootout between officers and the Palestinian terrorist who carried out a deadly terror attack in the city of Bnei Brak the previous day.
The footage shows two officers speeding down city streets at night on a police motorcycle, pistol in hand, toward the scene of the attack as a dispatcher gives them the location.
The terrorist, identified later as Diaa Hamarsheh, 27, from the West Bank village of Yabad, near Jenin, is heard shooting as the officers slow the vehicle and turn off the street.
The officer on the back of the motorcycle, who was wearing the camera, addresses his partner, Amir Khoury, saying “Khoury, watch out!” Moments later, a gunshot rings out. The officer wearing the camera falls to the pavement, stands back up, and begins firing at the terrorist from behind a tree.
He fires over a dozen shots down the residential street as sirens wail in the distance. The terrorist is then seen crumpled on the ground.
The officer takes away the terrorist’s rifle, and shouts out, “Quiet, quiet. He’s dead.”
“He’s down, he’s down, search the area,” the officer is heard saying a few seconds later, as another officer walks by.
Khoury, who was seriously injured in the encounter, later succumbed to his wounds, becoming the fifth and final victim of the deadly attack.
Seconds before the exchange with police, the terrorist shot dead his fourth victim, Avishai Yehezkel, 29, who was protecting his baby from gunfire.
The other victims include Bnei Bral resident Ya’akov Shalom, 36, and Ukrainian nationals Victor Sorokopot, 38, and Dimitri Mitrik, 23.
Hamarsheh’s terrorist past came to light on Wednesday as authorities scrambled to respond to the wave of terror attacks. Tuesday’s attack was the single deadliest terror attack in Israel since the 2014 Har Nof synagogue massacre and the third terror attack in the past week, resulting in 11 Israelis killed — the largest weekly toll since 2006 at the tail end of the Second Intifada.
Hamarsheh had sought to plot a suicide attack against Israelis as early as 2011, when he was 16 years old, according to Israeli military court filings. Hamarsheh was not convicted for that offense, instead, signing a plea bargain that saw him plead guilty to lighter charges and serving 30 months in prison.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered 1,000 soldiers to bolster police forces on Wednesday, and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev called for volunteers to join civilian patrols.
Gantz also approved the administrative detention of two East Jerusalem men over their alleged ties to the Hamas terror group.
Gantz’s office said the orders were issued due to information about planned violent activities that the suspects intended to advance, and the threat they posed to national security. The orders were in the works for at least two weeks.
Earlier, the Israel Police ordered officers onto heightened alert and the army said it would beef up troop presence along the West Bank’s border with Israel. Several local authorities have announced they would shut down construction sites in order to keep Palestinian laborers away.
Police also said they were cracking down on illegal entries into the country from the West Bank and reinforcing forces positioned on main roads in the area.
Barlev, whose office oversees police, has vowed that Israel would not be deterred in its fight against terror.
“It’s a difficult night for Israel. Our hearts break for the families of those murdered and injured in this terrible attack. We will continue to battle with all our might until the terror is subdued,” he said at the scene of Tuesday’s attack.
Emanuel Fabian and Tobias Siegal contributed to this report.