'In a matter of seconds I had him on the ground,' injured IDF soldier says after attack

St.-Sgt. Yoav Leitman recounts the details of the incident in which a Palestinian attacked him with a knife.

April 2, 2015 17:23
2 minute read.
yoav leitman

IDF St.-Sgt. Yoav Leitman. (photo credit: AMIT TOMER/MAARIV)

Staff Sergeant Yoav Leitman, who was  injured on Thursday in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian near the West Bank settlement of Oranit, recounted from his hospital bed in Petah Tikva the incident that by a miracle ended only in light injuries.

"We were on patrol duty near Oranit when six Palestinians who did not have permits to stay in Israel crossed the security fence. We approached the area in order to apprehend them and we received a report that they were headed toward a large bush for cover. The driver of the jeep and I began to approach the area and we surrounded the bush, and I then threw a stun grenade into its center. The suspects became frightened and said they were coming out," the 22-year-old soldier told family members who surrounded his hospital bed. 

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"We began to lead the Palestinians toward the jeep and while I was taking their identity documents and phone numbers, one of the six - a young guy - took out a knife, came behind me and stabbed me in the hand. I pushed him off me and raised my gun," Leitman said. 

"He came at me and stabbed me two or three times in the head, but in a matter of seconds I had him on the ground, he no longer had his weapon, and the staff who was with me distanced the other suspects. The person who stabbed me was in a rage and tried to get away and then backup forces came and took over," he recounted.

Staff Sergeant Yoav Leitman, subdues a Palestinian assailant after he was stabbed near a West Bank checkpoint. (photo: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

Leitman said he was complimented on his rapid handling of the situation

"I saw that the other Palestinians who witnessed the incident were very alarmed. In the end, these guys are trying to come to Israel to work and for the most part do not come with other intentions," he said. 

The St.-Sgt. added that never before had he been involved in a similar circumstance. 

"My treatment at the hospital has been outstanding and motherly, until my actual mother arrived. My parents were worried so I called them quickly to tell them I was fine. I feel great, my injuries are superficial and I will very soon return to my staff."

"I was supposed to be on duty for the Passover seder, but now I'll be be able to go home," Leitman said.     

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