A terrorist in the living room
A local policeman and his family had ran home from the Tel Aviv Cinematheque; when they reached their apartment door, a man approached them asking for water; after the policeman runs to the scene of the attack, he realized the man drinking water in his house was one of the terrorists.
It all happened on Wednesday night when a police investigator from the Central District accompanied his wife and her parents to eat ice cream at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque near their home. “We were sitting on the bench, and suddenly we heard gunshots,” explained Ofri, the policeman’s wife. “We initially didn’t realize that it was gunshots until we saw a lot of people running in our direction. We started running home to be in a safe place and so that my husband could get his gun.
“We entered the building, opened the door to the apartment—and then realized that another individual was with us. We asked him who he was, and he didn’t speak. He just asked for ‘water, water.’”
The couple, both 30, assumed the individual was simply a civilian who had escaped the scene of the attack and allowed the stranger, dressed in a suit, to enter the apartment. The policeman grabbed his gun and left the family inside with the unknown stranger.
“He looked like a lawyer, and he was very frightened—totally in shock. He was sitting in our home in the living room, and I brought him a glass of water. I didn’t know he was Arab. He probably didn’t speak because he didn’t want to give away his accent, or perhaps because he genuinely wasn’t able to speak. He was shaking. At first, he sat on the floor and literally couldn’t lift himself up. We thought he was a civilian like us who escaped from the scene of the attack," said Ofri.
However, at this point, the policeman arrived at the scene and second terrorist was apprehended. When the policeman saw him, he realized that the suit that the neutralized terrorist was wearing looked familiar. Former Police Chief Assaf Hefetz, who happened to be Ofri’s father, said that his son-in-law understood that the man sitting in his apartment was probably the second terrorist. “He immediately made the connection with the suits, and ran like crazy upstairs,” Hefetz said on Thursday. “This was an extremely professional thing to do. He was like a flawless machine. It was quick detective work to which he responded rapidly.”
Ofri was waiting in the living room when the door opened. “My husband came in with his gun out, grabbed the terrorist, lay him down on the floor, and arrested him,” she said. “At first we didn’t understand why he was doing this to an innocent civilian who was so frightened. Then he said, ‘He's dressed exacty like the second terrorist.’ The terrorist realized there was nothing he could do to try and escape.”
Ofri’s mother (Heftez’s ex-wife) praised her son-in-law for his actions: “He was amazing, so restrained. Everything happened in the space of a few seconds. The moment in which he recognized the terrorist from the attack was wearing the same clothes as the person who ran with us to the apartment, he put his gun to his head and put him on the floor. My daughter called the police downstairs and said ‘the terrorist is in my house.’ They came into the house en masse and jumped on him. One (of their rifles) fired a shot by accident. We were so frightened."
Itzik Aderi, a neighbor of the family, said that he saw a bunch of people gathering from his balcony. "Suddenly I heard loud noises," he said. "It was dark outside, and I truthfully could not see what what happnening but noticed people running very quickly. I heard cries of 'There's a terrorist here.' So a huge numbers of Border Police officers came."
Aderi added, "This is a little concerning when this happens beside your house," he said. "I didn't know that we have a policeman in the building. I feel more calm now."