The case against the two Border Police officers who shot and killed the terrorist who stabbed a young man near Damascus Gate on Shabbat is to be closed, after the officers were found to have acted correctly.
Avraham Elmaliah was stabbed multiple times by an Arab as he was walking home from the Kotel on Saturday afternoon. His wounds were categorized as moderate-serious and he is currently hospitalized in stable condition.
Police Chief Kobi Shabtai called the two officers “heroes” and he is expected to award them a commendation for their swift response to the incident.
On Sunday, the two officers visited the stabbing victim in hospital. Elmaliah thanked them, saying, “I want to thank you for saving my life – if it hadn’t been for you, I don’t know if I’d still be here.” His brother added, “G-d put you in the right place at the right time.”
On Sunday night, the Zichron Menachem non-profit organization held a Hanukkah candle-lighting event with the participation of Jerusalem Police Chief Doron Turgeman, organization heads Chaim and Miri Ehrental, and members of the Jerusalem police force. The two officers involved in Saturday’s terrorist incident were also present.
“I cannot imagine a better response to yesterday’s terrorist incident than your own,” Turgeman told them. “Your alertness to the situation and your reaction led to a swift and determined response. The entire police force – indeed, the entire country – is behind you. I want to thank you for your excellent and professional work – you have our complete and total support, all the way.”
According to a report on Kan 11 News, the case against the two officers will be closed within the next few days. Their weapons, which had been taken from them for ballistic inspection, have already been returned to them.
Although the Prosecution stated on Saturday evening that being questioned under caution was established procedure following such an incident, it should be noted that in the two preceding cases in which terrorists were shot following an attack, the officers concerned were merely required to give evidence.
The investigation into the incident focused on the fact that the terrorist was already lying wounded on the ground after being shot by one of the officers, and was then shot again, causing his death. On Sunday at the opening of the day’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stressed his support for the officers, saying that, “The full documentation leaves no room for doubt. The officers acted in an exemplary manner. They neutralized the stabber in the required manner and they deserve our admiration.”
During their interrogation, the two officers stated that they acted according to regulations. “At first, we heard shouts and we thought that it was a brawl, but then we saw someone stabbing another person,” they recounted. “After stabbing the person, he attacked us and tried to stab us. We shot at him after he was already lying on the ground because he was still moving after being shot the first time, and from our point of view he still presented a danger as he was armed with a knife. We acted according to regulations.”
After her identifying details were published, the female officer involved in the incident requested of the police force that she not be posted to the Damascus Gate area in the future, out of fear that Palestinian Arabs would attempt to attack her.
According to Kan 11, there are still three open cases against police officers who neutralized terrorists, two of which date back five and six years respectively. One concerns police officers who shot a terrorist who committed a stabbing attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanetziv in October, 2015. Another concerns police who shot a terrorist who tried to commit a stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in February, 2016, and the third relates to police who neutralized a terrorist who attempted to commit a ramming attack in Abu Dis in June, 2020.
In the first two cases, the families of the terrorists submitted an appeal protesting the intention of the Police Investigations Department to close the cases. The Prosecution has yet to issue a ruling. In the third case, an appeal was submitted against the decision of the Military Prosecution not to transfer the case to a Military Police Tribunal.