'I was screaming at the police and soldiers: It's a terror attack'

Man who was present at Gush Etzion shooting attack, in which three people were murdered, recounts his experience from the scene.

November 20, 2015 09:06
2 minute read.

Paramedics treating victims at the scene of a terror attack in Gush Etzion in the West Bank on November 19, 2015. (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)

Yoni Riskin drove into oncoming traffic to escape a Palestinian terrorist, who was shooting at cars stuck in traffic with an assault rifle at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank on Thursday afternoon.

“Two or three cars going in the right direction honked at me, as if I was the crazy one,” said Riskin.

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He had been on his way home to the Efrat settlement with a co-worker, Shani Abrams Simkovitz.

In light of all the attacks in the past two months at the junction, they were discussing bullet proof cars and vests, recalled Yoni.
Security forces apprehend Gush Etzion shooting suspect

As they inched forward slowly toward the junction they heard several barrages of gun fire that grew louder.

Yoni feared it was an attack. His car was still at a standstill as were the other vehicles behind him, which he could see through his rear view mirror.

“I said, we have to get out of here. There is a terror attack” he recalled, saying he pulled the car out of the line, into the lane of opposing traffic and over the dividing line, from where he proceeded to the police and soldiers at a bus stop closer to the junction.

Initially, no one understood what was happening, he said. The policeman wanted to give me a ticket, he added.

“I am literally screaming at them; ‘It’s a terror attack,” Yoni recalled.

The moment the soldiers and police understood what was going on, he said, they went running,

Then “I started to hear ambulances,” recalled Riskin, who pushed onward to Efrat to place as much distance between himself and the terrorist as possible.

When Simkovitz returned home to the nearby Tekoa settlement, she posted on her Facebook page, “So today is my lucky day....yes a very very lucky day..makes you really understand what you have to appreciate.”

“My friend saved my life and his,” said Simkovitz.

Three people were killed in the attack; Ezra Schwarz, 18, an American on his gap year in Israel, Yaakov Don, 49, a father of four and Palestinian Shadi Arafeh, 24, of Hebron. Seven others were lightly wounded.

Simkovitz told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview, “if we had left five-seconds later, it would have been our car that was hit.

“Once you leave your house, you do not know what will be,” she added.


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