Scene of attempted bombing in Jerusalem
Scene of attempted bombing in JerusalemAlona Cohen

When security guards for the Jerusalem light rail system detained a suspicious man near a station at the corner of Yafo and King George, passengers and passersby noticed the disturbance – but few comprehended at the time how narrowly a tragedy was averted, one that could have easily left them dead or injured.

But Rafael Sin-Shalom, an employee at a nearby store who stepped out to share a smoke with one of the guards moments before the attack was averted, got an uncomfortably close view of the bomb that very nearly cut so many lives short.

“I went out to smoke a cigarette with one of the guards,” Sin-Shalom recounted to Channel 2. “The guard noticed the terrorist and asked him to identify himself. He instructed him to remove his backpack. The guard, who is of Druze background, began speaking with him in Arabic, and started doing a body search. I understood that this wasn’t something routine, so I pushed the bag [away from the terrorist] towards me and stood next to it.”

The security guard and Sin-Shalom then peered inside the bag – and were horrified to discover a large bomb.

“We looked into the bag, we saw the explosive device, and our hearts dropped into our stomachs. I turned white and broke out in a sweat. We started to warn everyone and yell that there was an explosive device. I didn’t know where to run. I told people in the store to flee, and I waited for an explosion. I was sure I was about to die.”

“The security guard was also terrified. He threw the terrorist on the ground, aimed his gun at him, and warned him not to move. We were just scared to death. The bag was right between my feet.”