Knifeman (illustrative)
Knifeman (illustrative)iStock

On Monday, Lieutenant Shahar, commander of the Armored Corps in the 401st Brigade, and his soldiers foiled an attempted stabbing attack at the Beit Anun junction near Hevron. A 19-year-old Arab terrorist had charged the soldiers while brandishing a knife - but was ultimately prevented from carrying out the attack when soldiers spotted him and forced him to surrender.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Shahar recalled the attempted stabbing attack, and how he and the soldiers under his command managed to capture the terrorist.

"We were there as part of our operational routine... when we identified someone approaching us. It was raining outside, and it was suspicious to see a lone person approaching. When we realized he was suspicious, we jumped out [of our jeep], aimed our weapons at him. He panicked, threw the knife from his hand, and surrendered. At this stage we understood he was no longer a threat to us and we secured the area. We grabbed him to check that he didn't have anything else and took him away so he wouldn't cause a commotion."

Lt. Shahar notes that at the moment they identified the would-be attacker "the square was empty, only we were there and it seemed that he was heading towards us and no one else."

Lieutenant Shahar was asked about the special alertness required of his soldiers during winter rainy days. "When a person walks toward you alone in the rain, it raises suspicions. It's challenging to remain vigilant in such situations, but it's our duty and our job to maintain vigilance in such situations, and thanks to this alertness, we succeeded in identifying this in time."

Lieutenant Shahar says that after such an incident "I immediately gather the soldiers and try to understand what happened, so that they know what occurred, what they did well, and what to improve next time." Beyond the military debriefing, Shahar was asked whether there was conversation in which soldiers could release their feelings, be they satisfaction with their success or a sense of fear of the future. "We tried very hard to talk with them in order to give them confidence and express the fact that they did good work, and to show them that thanks to them, people here can live in peace and feel safe when they leave the house."

Major General Guy Basson, Judea and Samaria Division Commander, adds: "We summarize the year 2017 with a significant increase in our offensive activity and a sharp drop in terror," adding that during the year 30 attacks were thwarted in the Judea sector, with 55 knives and 85 firearms seized. "It's clear to us that it starts at the operational end, the soldiers are ready and alert. They know what their role is and thus avoid attacks. As for this incident, it was a positive example of quick thinking and quick action, and that's what we mean when we talk about operational sharpness."