A man attempted to run down Border Guard officers stationed at the east Jerusalem village of Sur Baher Tuesday afternoon. The forces opened fire, critically wounding the driver, who died of his wounds a short while later. Three Border Guard officers sustained light wounds to their legs.
The attack occurred as police and Home Front Command personnel were in the process of destroying the Sur Baher residence of the terrorist who killed three people in the first bulldozer attack in Jerusalem last July.
Twenty year-old Iyyad Azmi Awisat, of the village of Jabel Mukaber, left Sur Baher in a white Seat vehicle and approached the Border Guard officers stationed at the checkpoint at the entrance to the village at high speed.
Awisat managed to hit three officers, causing light injuries to their legs, before being shot by their company commander.
Scene of attack in Sur Baher (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)
Chief Inspector Noam Shavit, the Border Guard officer who shot the terrorist, said he had been standing with his soldiers at Sur Baher junction when the attack took place.
"Suddenly we saw a vehicle driving towards us quickly and run over three officers. I realized immediately that it was a terror attack," he recounted. "I cocked my M16 and fired a number of bullets at the terrorist."
Shavit, the deputy commander of the Border Guard's Eitan Company, said the proper level of preparation among security forces had prevented more dire consequences.
"We didn't hear the terrorist yell anything, he just drove into the junction where the officers were standing very quickly and without any intention to stop," he said.
"We thought maybe someone would try to hurt us while the terrorist's home was being destroyed so we didn't stand together, we separated into threes and this could be what prevented a larger attack."
Shavit said the response to the attack had been quick. "We did what was expected of us. We had to stop the terrorist in any way possible," he said.
Additional police officers were later dispatched to the scene, and the three wounded Border Guard officers were evacuated to the Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Residents of the village said that they were unsure the attack at the checkpoint was intentional.
'They treat us like dogs'
Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franko said, "Three officers have been lightly wounded. The terrorist is a resident of Jabel Mukaber in east Jerusalem. The police are prepared for disturbances of the peace that may break out."
Franko added, "The police fire was justified."
In reference to the upcoming Pesach holiday, Franko said, "I call all citizens of Israel to come to Jerusalem. We are deployed throughout the year, especially on the eve of Pesach, and are committed, as the police, to provide the maximum amount of security."
Franko added, "We are prepared for any additional disturbances of the peace that may take place in the village and other locations. Large forces are deployed in the village and others and in the west of the city." He said police were maintaining contact with the village leaders in the area in order to maintain the calm.
Police reported that residents clapped and cheered, calling out "God is great" as the body was removed from the scene.
Zuhir Hamdan, the mukhtar of Sur Baher, called the killing of the terrorist "cold-blooded murder."
On the attack itself, Hamdan commented, "It's a lie. They treat us like dogs." The mukhtar explained, "Up until now, I have controlled the village. From today, I no longer will. The response will come in the form of disturbances of the peace."
Not far from the checkpoint, Home Front Command personnel, with the help of Jerusalem Police, demolished only the part of the split-level home in which terrorist Hossam Dawyyat resided, while the section connecting his dwelling to the rest of the family home was sealed off.
Police told Ynet that the family was aware that the demolition would take place Tuesday and even removed their belongings ahead of time. The High Court authorized the demolition a few weeks ago, citing it as a deterrent against future attacks.