Stabbing attack backlash: Border Police officers probed, defended by Bennett

The Border Police officers who killed the Damascus Gate terrorist were given their weapons back after an interrogation.

Israel Border Police officers stand guard at the Damascus Gate (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel Border Police officers stand guard at the Damascus Gate
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

One day after the stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, the two Border Police officers who killed the terrorist, 25-year-old Mohammed Shawkat Salima, were given their weapons back after an interrogation by the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department (PID).

Border Police Commander Amir Cohen met on Sunday with the officers, L.-Cpl. 'S' and St.-Sgt.-Maj. 'L,' praising their quick-thinking at the scene of the stabbing attack and ordered their reinstatement to operational activities.

"You acted with determination, quick-thinking and professionalism to prevent the terrorist from harming you and other civilians in the area," Cohen told the officers. "You prevented a completely different ending to the incident, thanks to your actions," he added.

In Sunday's cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reaffirmed his support for the two Border Police officers, after they were criticized for shooting the assailant dead on the scene.

The investigation into the officers' actions is expected to officially conclude without further action being taken, Israeli media reported.

"I recommend to everyone - never hurry to pass judgment on a combatant's behavior in complex operational terror situations on the ground," Bennett said. 

"In any case, the video leaves no room for doubt, the fighters responded exceptionally well, exactly as they are expected to do in such situations.

"They deserve full appreciation and support from all of us, to those who prevented murder and acted with operational resourcefulness within seconds," the prime minister added.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, December 5, 2021.  (credit: EMIL SALMAN/HAARETZ) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, December 5, 2021. (credit: EMIL SALMAN/HAARETZ)

The terrorist's taxi driver's arrest was extended on Sunday for a further five days.

On Saturday, following the stabbing attack, Israel Police arrested the Triangle resident in his 40s under suspicion he might have aided the terrorist in carrying out the attack.

Border Police forces also arrested the younger brother of the terrorist in the early hours of Sunday morning, Palestinian media reported.

"If the family had known, we would not have let him out of the house," Mohammed, Salima's brother-in-law, said in a Reshet B interview on Sunday morning.

The victim, a 20-year-old haredi (ultra-orthodox) man, is hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

On Saturday, the hospital stated that the victim is suffering from stab wounds in his back and neck, but is in stable condition.