Photo: Gilad Morag
Staff Sergeant Yoav Leitman
Photo: Gilad Morag

Soldier subdues Palestinian attacker: 'He stabbed me; I tackled him'

Staff Sergeant Yoav Leitman recalls Palestinian teenager's spontaneous attack, and finds the bright side - he'll get to spend Passover at home.

A mere few hours after successfully subduing his Palestinian attacker, Staff Sergeant Yoav Leitman recounted the details of the Thursday incident in the West Bank. "He stabbed me in the head two or three times," he recalled from his hospital bed in Petah Tikva.



The attack happened when a force under Leitman's command approached the security fence in near the Oranit settlement, where a group of Palestinians were in the process of illegally infiltrating into Israeli territory.


The attacker, a teenager from Tulkarm with no criminal record, was part of the group. During a search by the IDF force, he pulled out a knife and stabbed Staff Sergeant Leitman.


Wounded IDF soldier at hospital (Photo: Gilad Morag)
Wounded IDF soldier at hospital (Photo: Gilad Morag)


"My battalion was operating in the Oranit area; I was patrolling with three of the fellas," said Leitman. "We were called up because undocumented migrants were crossing the fence. We arrived at the scene, got of out the vehicle to look for them, and then heard from the lookout that they were hiding in the bushes."


Leitman and his driver, Yarden, then approached the bushes "while signaling commands, each soldier from an opposing direction. We realized we had found their spot, at which point they left the bushes screaming 'okay, okay'".


The soldiers asked the suspects for their identification when the teenager jumped Leitman and stabbed him in the hand. "I pushed him away, but he came back and stabbed me in the upper portion of the head. I trackled him to the floor within five seconds; he no longer had the knife."


Lietman tackles the Palestinian attacker (Photo: IDF Spokesman) (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Lietman tackles the Palestinian attacker (Photo: IDF Spokesman)


Leitman said he and the soldiers held the suspect down but "he was very agitated and struggling to escape but we calmed him down. I received a lot of kind words and the incident was concluded quickly."


The soldier further added that he believed the attacker seemed suspicious even before the stabbing. "I trackled him quickly to the floor, hit him a few times with my hands and the rifle, whatever was needed." The teenager and the rest of the group were arrested by the IDF force.


But Leitman noted this was not an ordinary security event. "The rest of the undocumented migrants were frightened, they wanted to work in Israel, they had no intent to carried out an attack. It's a special incident. I have never experienced anything like it."


The brave soldier said he was in good condition after the attack. "Mostly surface wounds," he stressed, "the girls in the trauma unit cared for me like my own mother would until she arrived. I called her to tell her I was fine and that there was a small incident in case she heard otherwise.


"I was scheduled to stay on base for Passover but now I have the holiday at home," Leitman added.


Hamas praised the stabbing attack in the West Bank. A statement by the organization said the attack emphasizes the determination of the Palestinian people to continue on the path of resistance despite the many obstacles and difficulties.


Gilad Morag contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 04.02.15, 17:58
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