Photo: Reuters
Site of the Be'er Sheva attack
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Channel 1
Evacuating the injured
Photo: Channel 1

Guard recounts moments of horror

Lawi Abu-Jama’a, who averted disaster in Be’er Sheva attack, clearly recalls pursuing bomber before he detonated himself. On an optimistic note, pink slip handed to guard a week ago rescinded

Lawi Abu-Jama’a, one of the two security guards who sustained serious injuries in the Be’er Sheva suicide bombing Sunday, lies in his hospital bed covered with a blanket up to his neck. His face is burnt and his left eye is covered with a bandage.


He will no longer be able to see from this eye, yet the images he remembers moments before a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Be'er Sheva central bus station will be etched in his memory forever.


"We ran after the suicide bomber. I called for him to stop, but he ignored us," Abu-Jama'a said Thursday from his hospital bed.


"I knew he had explosives in his bag. I grabbed his right hand. Pavel grabbed his left hand,  but he managed to shake pavel off and detonated the bomb. There was a huge blast. I fell and don't remember anything else."


The 27-year-old security guard from a Bedouin community in the Negev has been hailed as a hero for preventing a lethal terror attack by stopping a suicide bomber with his body.


The second hero Abu-Jama'a talks about is fellow security guard, 22-year-old Pavel Srotzkin. Both  Srotzkin and Abu-Jama'a are seriously injured, and lie side-by-side at Soroka Hospital's plastic surgery ward.


The two young men know they were saved from death by a miracle, after they used their bodies to prevent further bloodshed.


'There was something suspicious about his actions'


Just last week Abu-Jama'a, a father of two, received a dismissal notice from the company he works for. However, he was informed on Wednesday that the letter has been canceled. Once he recovers, his job will be waiting for him.


"I know we saved many people. It's our job, that is what we have been taught to do," he said, and proceeded to recount how he identified the bomber.


"There was something suspicious about his actions, I closed on him and called for Pavel to join me," he said. "I noticed that he sat at a bus station for several seconds and then got up and left. It definitely added to the suspicion. Once I approached him I knew for certain he was a terrorist. He was sweating profusely."


Abu-Jama'a said he spoke to the bomber in Hebrew, but the terrorist did not answer and turned around as if he did not hear him.


"He had a grey-black bag on his back and a plastic bag in his hand. I jumped and grabbed his right hand. Pavel grabbed his left hand. I shouted, 'Pavel hold on tight!' - but at the same moment the terrorist managed to release his hand and pressed the detonator that was near his left shoulder."


Abu-Jama'a describes a loud booming noise, and remembers falling and then waking up in the hospital.


Vice Premier Shimon Peres visited Abu-Jama'a in the hospital two days ago. The guard requested that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who he says he knows from his army service, pay him a visit as well.


"It won't harm for the prime minister to call me either. What, don't I deserve it?" he said. 


This story first appeared in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper


פרסום ראשון: 09.01.05, 10:13
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