Damascus Gate stabber of border policeman sentenced to 17 years in deal

The sentence, part of a plea bargain also included a fine of NIS 40,000 against Tarua.

March 16, 2016 19:23
2 minute read.
israeli palestinian flags

Palestinian protesters wave Palestinian flags as Israelis carrying Israeli flags walk past in front of the Damascus Gate outside Jerusalem's Old City. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian Yasser Tarua was sentenced on Wednesday by the Jerusalem District Court to 17 years in prison for stabbing Border Policeman Raz Bibi in the neck and the chest next to Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate on June 21.

The sentence, part of a plea bargain also included a fine of NIS 40,000 against Tarua. Bibi was badly injured and required serious medical attention for around two weeks, but survived.

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The indictment, filed by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office in August, charged Tarua with attempted murder with nationalist motives and entering Israel illegally.

Tarua set out from a village near Hebron with two knives and illegally crossed into Israel with the goal of attacking a policeman or a soldier.

Bibi was walking on Sultan Solomon Street on his way to his base where he served near the Damascus Gate when Tarua jumped him from behind and started stabbing him, while yelling “God is great.”

The border policeman managed to throw Tarua off of him and fired on Tarua multiple times.

Bibi was treated at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics, was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center where he underwent emergency surgery, was stabilized and eventually discharged after 12 days.

He has several ongoing health problems as a result of the attack and is on a long-term rehabilitation program with no possibility of returning to his old position in the border police.

Tarua was transferred to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem in serious condition, but also survived.

Rosenfeld said, at the time, that police units immediately cordoned off the area to prevent more attacks, before confirming that the suspect acted alone.

“Police determined it was a lonewolf attack, and carried out security assessments in and around the Old City to ensure order was restored and no more incidents take place as Ramadan continues,” he said at the time.

At the time, the current wave of violence was not at full speed and the attack was viewed as shocking, with quick responses from Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, Yisrael Beytenu Party leader Avigdor Liberman and MK Ofer Shelach (Yesh Atid.) On the night following the attack Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also cancelled entry permits to Israel to the residents of Tarua’s village and revoked 500 exit permits abroad from Ben Gurion Airport for West Bank residents.

Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.

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