Scene of suspected ramming terror attack in Jerusalem, January 8, 2017.
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
A completed forensic examination of the terrorist who carried out last week’s deadly attack against soldiers in Jerusalem conclusively proved that cadets shot and killed the suspect, contradicting claims that they were reluctant to fire due to the controversial Azaria verdict.
Questions over the new conscripts’ reticence to shoot surfaced after a tour guide at the scene, Eitan Rund, said he opened fire on the flatbed truck used in the attack after cadets hesitated, as a result of Sgt. Elor Azaria’s conviction four days earlier for shooting an unarmed Palestinian.
However, CCTV footage taken of the attack, which killed four and wounded 17, clearly showed soldiers, who were exiting a bus next to Armon Hanatziv’s Haas Promenade, charging the truck and opening fire until the terrorist was dead.
The matter was officially settled on Monday night, after the physician who conducted Fadi al-Qunbar’s autopsy at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute conclusively determined that the kill shot came from a soldier-issued M-16, not the 9mm. handgun used by Rund.
During an interview with Army Radio following the rampage, Rund said he immediately opened fire after realizing it was not an accident.
“I ran toward him [the driver] and emptied my whole clip,” he said. “He drove backward and onto the wounded again. They were motionless, some wounded and some scared. It wasn’t a good scene.”
Rund claimed that the soldiers were reluctant to shoot at the truck due to Azaria’s manslaughter conviction.
“There was hesitation to open fire,” he said. “I have no doubt that this was a significant factor, because all they tell them [in the army] recently is to be careful. It could be that a few minutes less of hesitation and the situation would have been better.”
Nonetheless, Col. Yaniv Aluf, commander of the IDF Officers School who carried out a preliminary investigation of the attack, contradicted Rund’s version of events, concluding that at least two cadets fired on the terrorist at close range.
IDF Spokesman Maj.-Gen.
Moti Almoz backed Aluf’s finding, adding that it was inaccurate to state that soldiers hesitated to shoot, or that the Azaria conviction had some bearing on the incident.
“The moment they realized it was an attack, two cadets fired toward the truck,” Almoz said. “The army does not know of any soldier who was afraid to shoot because of Azaria.”Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.