A Palestinian man stabbed a security guard in the chest, critically wounding him at the city’s central bus station on Sunday, in what was likely a response to US President Donald Trump’s statement about Jerusalem.A passerby swiftly wrestled the assailant, Yasin Abu al-Qur’a from the Nablus area, to the ground and police arrested him at the scene. Magen David Adom medics rushed the 46-year-old guard to Shaare Zedek Hospital, where doctors said he was on life support in the intensive care unit.
Qur’a had arrived at the security point at the entrance to the Jerusalem station and pulled out a knife as he was being checked, stabbing the guard in the chest before fleeing the scene.
The Israeli police Foreign Spokesman discusses the stabbing attack at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station on December 10, 2017 (UDI SHAHAM)
Police told The Jerusalem Post that the attacker started running away down Jaffa Street, where he was apprehended by a civilian and other policemen. Qur’a was taken for questioning at the Police Central Unit station.At press time, the medical center’s updates described the condition of the victim, identified by Israeli media as Asher Elmaliach, as critical but stable. They added that he is in a coma and that his life is in danger.Medics also treated eyewitnesses who suffered from shock.Police said that Abu al-Qur’a held a permit to work in Jewish communities adjacent to the security barrier, but did not include the area of Jerusalem. Media reports said that Abu al-Qur’a is affiliated with the Fatah movement, but there is no confirmation that he received any guidance or assistance before carrying out the attack.After the attack, a large crowd gathered at the scene with some chanting “death penalty for terrorists.” Later that evening, far-right activists – including activists from anti-Arab movement Lehava – arrived at the scene and reiterated these calls.Jerusalem District Police Commander Maj.-Gen. Yoram Halevy praised the security guard and said, “He is a real hero.”“He was the first to run after him [the attacker]. Here is the only place in the world in which there is an event [attack] and people do not run away, but run [toward the scene] and respond,” he said. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said that the proper response to the attack should be “strengthening sovereignty” in the capital.“Israel’s enemies do not need an excuse to harm us, there’s no justification for violence and terrorism. The answer to terror is strengthening our sovereignty, and building all over unified Jerusalem,” he said.“The policemen and citizen [who stopped the terrorist from running away], as well as the security officer who stopped the terrorist with his body, prevented more casualties, and therefore residents of the city should be aware of their surroundings and report to security personnel if they see anything suspicious,” he added.Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan responded to the attack, saying: “This afternoon’s terror attack in Jerusalem is a direct result of the ongoing incitement to terror by the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, who are working with Hamas to instigate violence. Mahmoud Abbas continues to demonstrate that he is not a true partner for peace, and now that he has established a unity government with Hamas, he is responsible for Hamas’s murderous incitement as well.”“I am praying for the speedy recovery of the security guard who was wounded in the attack,” he said.Eyewitness Kevin Buchinger, 18, told the Post that he was at the bus station when he saw a crowd running and then saw the victim lying injured on the ground next to the knife. He said, “Some Arab worker was video-calling his friend, showing him what had happened. But he was laughing, just at someone injured on the floor, which made it a lot worse to see just how sad it was.”This comes four days after US President’s Donald Trump’s announcement in which he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.After three days of protests and clashes between the Border Police and demonstrators in east Jerusalem, on Sunday no serious incidents were reported in that area. Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
Kevin Buchinger, eyewitness to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station stabbing attack, December 10, 2017 (UDI SHAHAM)