'It's a scary story,' Israeli says of waking up to police in his home, on-the-hunt for terrorist

Ami Lahiani of Kiryat Gat describes the moments leading up to the capture of Muhammad Tarda, the Palestinian terrorist responsible for injuring four in Saturday's stabbing attack.

November 22, 2015 12:05
2 minute read.
Magen David Adom at scene of Kiryat Gat stabbing, November 21, 2015

Magen David Adom at scene of Kiryat Gat stabbing, November 21, 2015 . (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)

Ami Lahiani, the Kiryat Gat civilian who, unknowingly, sheltered Saturday's Palestinian assailant in the storage unit of his home, spoke Sunday of the police operation to uncover the terrorist hiding between the walls of his home.

"The terrorist hid in the back part of my storage unit," he said. "There was silence as I ate. I turned on a light by the area in which he was hiding. I'm sure he knew that I was there because light shone into my dining area - he must've known that someone was home. Even though we were separated by a barred window, he saw that I was there. I was very tired and went up to sleep. But my phone rang and my brother left a message. He said my neighbor told him about the chaos surrounding my house," Lahiani continued.

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"It was then that I started hearing noise," he said.

He got out of bed and went downstairs. "Is anyone there?" he yelled. "I heard windows being shattered, so I walked downstairs. And that was when I found 20 police officers. They said the terrorist was at loose in my home, so they led me outside so that they could scan the area and keep looking for him."

"I went into the lot, as the forces continued to scan for traces of the terrorist. They found him hiding between wooden planks in my storage unit. Officers jumped on him and contained him. They found a knife and an Identification card on his body. His coat and cigarettes were drenched in blood. He was saying in Hebrew, 'it's not me, it's not me, what do you want from me?' in an Arabic accent"

Lahiani praised the work of the security forces and said, "they were very persistent about finding the terrorist and were sure he was here. They didn't give up until the mystery was solved and his whereabouts traced."

He said that come Sunday morning, it was difficult for him to process the events that unraveled in his home the night before. "It's a scary story. The scary part is that I woke up at 7 a.m. today and went out to my yard to drink a cup of tea. I don't know how this morning would have ended up if they hadn't located him..."

The Shin Bet named Muhammad Tarda, 18, as the suspect responsible for the stabbing attack in Kiryat Gat Saturday night that injured four locals.

According to the security agency, the suspect was not familiar to authorities and had no previous charges.

The four civilians who were injured remain in moderate to serious condition, yet are all stable. 

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