IDF Lieutenant May Paled.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
IDF Lieutenant Maya Peled was credited on Monday with stopping the car-ramming attack of a Palestinian terrorist who killed four soldiers in Jerusalem Sunday.
Speaking publicly about the incident for the first time, Paled maintained her soldiers were "locked and loaded," remaining vigilant throughout the ordeal.
"We were sure that this was a car-ramming attack," Peled commented, describing yesterday's scene in which terrorist Fadi Ahmad Hamdan Qunbor drove a truck into a group of soldiers.
As soon as he went into reverse, Peled said, the nature of the situation was clear. "I got into position, I heard the report from cadets or commanders that the [terrorist] was neutralized, but we realized that the terrorist was still alive and presented a danger."
Jerusalem Terror Attack: Footage of truck ramming into group of people in Armon Hanatziv, Jan. 8, 2017
"I went down to the last step," Paled continued, "and fired at the window where the terrorist was," which proved fatal.
Paled also addressed criticism surrounding the incident, in which some suggested that soldiers hesitated to act due to a shadow cast by the Elor Azaria
trial which concluded at the beginning of the month.
"The case of Azaria never rose to the top of our minds," Peled insisted. "Everyone who was there was in action and did not think about it, in my opinion," she said.
"There were plenty of cadets and firearms. I [didn't] need everyone aiming and firing," she said. "Only those who were at certain spots were able to shoot. The criticism is incorrect. The incident was handled in the best way possible."
Shortly after Sunday's incident, security guard and tour guide Eitan Rund told Army Radio that soldiers on the scene were hesitant to shoot, due in part to the manslaughter conviction four days earlier of Sgt. Elor Azaria for killing a downed terrorist.
“There was hesitation to open fire,” Rund 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.”
Rund was also credited with stopping the attack by firing at Qunbor.
Col. Yaniv Aluf, commander of the IDF Officers School, who carried out a preliminary investigation of the attack, appeared to contradict Rund’s version of events. Aluf’s investigation suggested that at least two cadets fired toward the terrorist at close range.
Azaria was convicted of manslaughter in a military court on January 4, following the conclusion of a months long trial that split Israeli public opinion. Azaria was documented shooting and killing an immobilized assailant in Hebron in March of 2016 moments after stabbing and wounding a soldier positioned in the city.