Right-wing activist Yehudah Glick remained in serious but stable condition on Thursday, after being shot outside the capital’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center late the previous night.
Early on Thursday morning, police killed convicted terrorist Moataz Hejazi in a shootout in the Abu Tor neighborhood. Hejazi, 32, is suspected of carrying out the attack on Glick. Hejazi, a member of Islamic Jihad who served 11-and-a-half years in prison for nationalistic crimes, shot Glick four times after he exited the Begin Center, police said.
Glick was transported to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in serious condition.
There was a “very light improvement” in Glick’s condition by Thursday night, according to Prof. Petachia Reissman, of the hospital’s gastroenterology department.
She said the 49-year-old, who holds Israeli and US citizenship and is the spokesman for the Joint Committee of Temple Organizations, remained in serious but stable condition and was still in danger. Glick remained connected to a respirator and was under a general anesthesia; this was likely to continue for a few days, Reissman, who is head of the general surgery department, said.
After the first initial complex operation on Wednesday night, in which Glick’s hemorrhaging was stopped, he underwent a procedure to clean up the wounds on Thursday morning. With improvement, he will undergo another operation or two to repair damaged internal organs, the doctor said.
The assassin’s bullets punctured one lung, entered his throat and hand, fractured some ribs and caused more significant harm to his small and large intestines. Doctors put Glick through a whole-body CT scan and were pleased that they didn’t find significant harm to his spine at the neck, or more internal damage than they had seen when he was operated on.
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Hejazi, a kitchen worker at Terasa, a privately owned, upscale restaurant in the Begin Center, shot Glick four times at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday before fleeing on a motorcycle. After an intensive manhunt, police located Hejazi at his Abu Tor apartment. He fired at officers, who returned fire, killing him.
During an interview with Palestinian TV Al-Quds following his release from prison two years ago, Hejazi said, “I wish to be a thorn in the throat of the Zionist plan to Judaize Jerusalem,” adding that “the Palestinian people in Jerusalem suffer from daily harassment.”
In a US State Department briefing on Thursday, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “We condemn yesterday’s shooting of a US citizen,” while calling for calm in Jerusalem.
Hejazi passed a police background check before he was hired by the restaurant, according to Ofer Inbar, spokesman for the Begin Center.
“The restaurant does not belong to the Begin Center, so we have no idea about the personal details of the man, but we do know that people who work in the restaurant have to get a background check from the police first,” Inbar said.
“And we know that the owner of the restaurant got the okay to hire him.”
It remains unclear how a convicted terrorist passed a background test.
Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino said that the force had received no report of a specific threat on the life of Glick.
“When we receive a report of a specific threat, we are updated and take action if there is a need to do so. There wasn’t a specific threat [against Glick] that we received that required these actions,” Danino said.
Glick’s father and others close to the Temple Mount activist have said since Wednesday night that he had complained to police at least five times recently about threats but was not provided with protection.
Danino said that regardless, police will carry out a probe on their conduct before and after the shooting attack, and into how their officers conducted themselves during the raid in Abu Tor on Thursday morning.
Counterterrorism Unit officers opened fire only after Hejazi began shooting at them as they closed in, police said.
Islamic Jihad announced on Thursday that Hejazi was a member.
The group said the “Jerusalem intifada” will continue and praised Hejazi for carrying out his “sacred duty to defend the Aksa Mosque.”
The group said Israeli measures in Jerusalem would not dissuade the Palestinians from “pursuing the “path of resistance and jihad.”
Ziad al-Nakhaleh, deputy head of Islamic Jihad, said the attempt on the life of Glick “affirms the correctness of the option of resistance.” It proves that “resistance is the most effective and strongest option to restore the land and preserve Palestinian rights,” he said.
Hejazi’s funeral was set to be held late Thursday night.
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