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Eyewitness: Hesitation to shoot may have cost lives

Tour guide says things would have been better if soldiers had opened fire earlier, blames hesitation on Elor Azariya's conviction.

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Arutz Sheva Staff,

The terrorist's truck
The terrorist's truck
Sebi Berens/Flash90

According to the tour guide who accompanied them, the IDF soldiers who were present at the scene of Sunday's ramming attack may have been able to prevent both injuries and deaths - had they opened fire earlier.

Though initial investigations show several soldiers did open fire, they only did so after it was "clear" that the attack was not an accident, causing a delay which my have been critical.

The soldiers were visiting Jerusalem as part of the army's "Culture Sundays" program.

Tour guide Eitan Rund who accompanied them said, "I’m a tour guide, I was supposed to be guiding groups of youths. We didn’t even manage to say hello before it all happened.

"I don’t understand why 40 soldiers who were there did not shoot...It’s not pleasant to say, but there could have been a lot fewer wounded. After I decided to open fire at him, several soldiers also opened fire. He took a breath and carried on running people over," he said. "Lives could have been saved.

"There was hesitation to open fire. I have no doubt that this was a significant factor, because all they tell them [in the army] recently is to be careful. It could be that a few minutes less of hesitation and the situation would have been better."

Rund was armed, and shot at the terrorist. He was lightly injured in the attack.

"I saw the truck go in reverse, and then I realized that it wasn’t an accident," Rund said. "I ran toward him [the driver] and emptied my whole clip. He drove backward and onto the wounded again... It wasn’t a good scene."

Rund also mentioned Elor Azariya's conviction of manslaughter as a possible reason for the soldiers' hesitation.

However, Col Yaniv Aluf, who is an IDF spokesman and commander at the IDF Officers' School denied Elor Azariya's conviction was connected to the case. And IDF Spokesman Major-General Moti Almoz agreed with Aluf.

"The moment that they realized that it was an attack, two cadets fired toward the truck," Almoz said. "The army does not know of any soldier who was afraid to shoot because of Azariya."