Tel Aviv city inspector Chen Amir was killed in a terror shooting in the popular pedestrian mall Nahalat Binyamin in Tel Aviv on Saturday afternoon, Israel Police said.
Amir was married and had three daughters, and his family agreed to donate his organs.
Amir and his colleague were patrolling on motorcycles when they noticed a suspicious person on the popular mall packed with cafes and restaurants and approached him, police said.
The suspect initially refused to answer their calls, and as the pair got off their motorcycles, the man pulled out a handgun and opened fire toward the guards, shooting Amir in the head and critically injuring him. The other guard responded swiftly and killed the terrorist who was identified as 22-year-old Kamal Abu Ahmed from the town of Rumannah near Jenin. Abu Ahmed was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization and had been wanted by Israeli security forces for the past six months for terrorist activity in the Jenin refugee camp.
Early Sunday morning, Israeli security forces entered Rumannah to take measurements of Abu Ahmed's home in preparation for its possible demolition. One Palestinian was arrested as the forces operated in the town, according to Palestinian reports.
Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai arrived at the scene and said the terrorist left a note saying he would be a martyr. Hamas later praised the attack and said it was a natural consequence of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.
The guard who shot the terrorist told Shabtai that “He didn’t make eye contact as we approached him on our motorcycles that make noise, which increased our suspicions.”
Amir was given initial medical treatment by Magen David Adom (MDA) at the scene before being taken to Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries.
“We arrived on scene to find a great deal of commotion,” said MDA’s Shai Bachar and Shimon Pinchas. “A 40-year-old man was lying unconscious, with no pulse and no breathing, and had sustained penetrating injuries to his body. We immediately initiated CPR and transported him to the hospital in an MDA mobile intensive care unit. He remains in critical condition.”
Shabtai commended the swift action of the two municipal security guards.
“There is no doubt that your quick and professional action saved lives,” he said. “Just a few meters away, we can see coffee shops and people, understanding the magnitude of the disaster averted. This is thanks to your vigilance and determination to make an impact.”
Politicians praise Amir and his colleague for their alertness
“I praise the brave work of Tel Aviv’s security people,” said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. “Thanks to their alertness, they neutralized the terrorist and prevented a bigger attack.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Tel Aviv Municipality’s city security patrol for “preventing a much more severe terrorist attack.”
“Our security forces will bring to account those who want to kill us,” Netanyahu added.
Netanyahu also sent condolences to Amir's family.
Amir "stopped a greater terrorist attack from taking place with his own body and saved many lives," the prime minister said.
“I thank [the Tel Aviv security guard] and his colleague from the bottom of my heart for their bravery, resourcefulness and determination in finding and neutralizing the terrorist who intended on harming and murdering innocent citizens in the city,” said President Isaac Herzog.
Former defense minister Benny Gantz tweeted that he was praying for the injured security guard. ”The vigilance and response of the inspectors who were there is an act of heroism that prevented a greater disaster and deserves all appreciation,” he wrote.
“It’s a difficult evening in Tel Aviv,” said opposition leader Yair Lapid. “The alertness and fast response of the inspector saved lives and prevented a bigger terror attack. The security forces will continue to work strongly against terrorism in all arenas. Our enemies will know that we will get them all.”
We strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that killed 1 & wounded 2 others, as well as other recent terrorist attacks against Israelis. We express our deepest condolences to the victims’ families & call for an end to these acts of violence & incitement to violence.— U.S. State Dept - Near Eastern Affairs (@StateDept_NEA) August 6, 2023
The US State Department condemned the attack, tweeting "We strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that killed 1 and wounded 2 others, as well as other recent terrorist attacks against Israelis. We express our deepest condolences to the victims’ families & call for an end to these acts of violence & incitement to violence."
The weekly protests against the government’s judicial reform plans continued Saturday night as usual, with Israel Police spokesman Eli Levi telling protesters to stay alert. “We urge citizens to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity,” the police said.
The Kaplan Force in charge of the protests said it was sending prayers for the recovery of the injured security guards.