Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat invited the light rail security guards who prevented a terror attack in Jerusalem this morning (Sunday) to his office to thank them personally and officially for their exemplary service in saving many lives.
One of the security guards noticed a man standing behind the light rail station on the corner of King George and Jaffa streets, holding a backpack and looking furtive and suspicious. The guard immediately confronted the man and asked to see what was in the bag. The suspect tried to avoid him, but the guard was able to see what looked like a bomb. He alerted his colleagues immediately, and they were able to neutralize the terrorist. Police arrived shortly and the bomb was diffused.
The terrorist was taken into custody.
Sitting with Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram HaLevi, Barkat told the guards: "The Police Commander and I were extremely impressed with your ability to identify suspicious, unusual behavior, and to professionally approach and diffuse your situation. Your alertness and professionalism saved a lot of lives today. The people of Jerusalem thank you."
The Mayor urged all security personnel and the general public in the city to learn from their example. "Everyone must keep their eyes open. Anything out of the ordinary, anything unusual, should be noticed, just like the light rail security guards did today. This way we have a formidable defense mechanism against terror attacks."
Barkat then reiterated one of his signature pieces of advice. "Most importantly, after something like this, we must return to our daily routines as quickly as possible. The residents of Jerusalem must continue their lives as normal and allow terror to scare them. This is how each and every resident takes part in combating terror. This is our victory over it."
Commander HaLevy and Barkat expressed their appreciation at the light rail resuming its operations an hour and a half after the terror attack was thwarted, saying it was a further testament to the professionalism and efficiency of the security forces, and to the general desire to return to normal and not let terror disrupt Jerusalem city life.
The guard who originally recognized the terrorist and confronted him had only a few words of gratitude to say. "Thank God. I want to thank the people who trained us to get us ready for this. I want to thank my partner, for helping me. We prevented a serious attack. This could have ended in a very different way, but thank God it ended the way it did."
The Mayor presented the guards with official city of Jerusalem pins, as a small token of appreciation from the city.