A rabbi's quick draw saved lives
A rabbi's quick draw saved lives (file)

A Palestinian Authority terrorist was shot dead late Monday afternoon as he attempted to stab two people at a bus stop near Shiloh, 20 miles north of Jerusalem. The armed civilian who put an end to the attack is a school principal from the town of Itamar.

The attacker suddenly pulled out a six-inch knife.

After 5:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon, an Arab man approached the Shiloh Junction bus stop and began talking to two people, an adult and a teenager, who were waiting there. In an interview with Arutz Sheva, the teenager, Hillel Maeir, described the events which followed: After a short conversation in broken English and Hebrew, which aroused the suspicion of the two, the 16-year-old young man decided to move away, behind a concrete barrier at the bus stop while the older man placed his hand on his personal weapon.

At that point, the attacker suddenly pulled out a six-inch knife and tried to stab the adult Israeli. Because of his fear of getting entangled with the law for using his weapon, the would-be victim waited until the last second to draw his personal weapon. Hillel Maeir described that as the terrorist's knife was coming down toward the Jewish man, he managed to cock his pistol and shoot the terrorist all in the same motion of drawing his weapon.

The bullet knocked the Arab off his feet and wounded him. When the terrorist then reached into his shirt, the civilian interpreted the motion as a possible attempt to detonate an explosive vest, and he shot again, this time killing his attacker. It later turned out that the PA resident was reaching for a second, concealed knife.

Military and police forces alerted to the attack arrived at the junction and radioed for an emergency medical response unit. The responding Magen David Adom (MDA) team pronounced the terrorist dead at the scene.

The dead terrorist at Shiloh junction, March 31, 2008

Photo: www.photocarlos.com
Security personnel at Shiloh junction wearing gloves inspecting the area of the terrorist attack

Photo: www.photocarlos.com

The quick-thinking civilian who killed the attacker was identified as Rabbi Erez Bar-On, the principal of the Hitzim High School in Itamar, near Shechem. Rabbi Bar-On is a graduate of the Hesder yeshiva in the town of Har Bracha, on Mt. Gerizim in Samaria.

IDF officials had nothing but praise for Rabbi Bar-On in the wake of the attempted stabbing. "The citizen acted properly, in a decisive and fitting manner," army officials said in a statement to the press, "and his actions showed preparedness and proportionality."

As is its practice in most cases of such foiled "lone wolf" terror attacks, the Palestinian Authority presented the would-be attacker as an innocent victim, murdered by the Zionists. A PA news outlet controlled by Hamas referred to the dead man as a shahid ("martyr") in a story under the heading "Zionist Settlers Kill Palestinian in Cold Blood". The Fatah-controlled PA news agency WAFA identified the terrorist as 22-year-old Abed al-Latif Kharoub and, like Hamas, claimed he was "shot dead in a cold blood by a group of colonizers as he was walking near Tarmas'aya town, north Ramallah."

MK Ariel: DM Barak's 'Gestures' Led to the Attack

Knesset Member Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) attributed the attempted terrorist attack near Shiloh on Monday afternoon to the removal of IDF roadblocks in Judea and Samaria earlier in the day.

The attack took place just hours after the IDF began easing security checks for PA Arabs, and just a few kilometers west of a checkpoint that was removed, he said.

MK Ariel blamed Defense Minister Ehud Barak for approving the loosening of security measures as a "gesture" to the PA. Ariel sees Barak as responsible for any attacks resulting from the reduced number of checkpoints. Barak recently both approved the removal of checkpoints and froze government funding aimed at providing extra protection for Israeli vehicles in Judea and Samaria, Ariel noted.