Hero officer: I did as I was taught

Police chief promotes Kobi Mor who shot second terrorist before he could detonate his bomb.

kobi mor 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 2, courtesy of Ronen Peretz/Elul Productio)
kobi mor 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 2, courtesy of Ronen Peretz/Elul Productio)
A doctor and nurse initially mistook a second, would-be bomber for a wounded victim at the site of Monday's terrorist attack in Dimona. The two were dutifully treating him for his injuries and were about to insert an IV into the man's arm when they noticed he was wearing an explosive belt. They shouted out that there was a second terrorist and raced for cover, dragging a wounded woman with them. As the bomber reached for the detonator he was shot dead by Ch.-Supt. Kobi Mor. In extraordinary footage filmed by television cameras and broadcast on Monday night, Mor fired first from a few meters away, and then, as the man again moved his arm, fired several more shots from two or so meters away to ensure the second explosive belt was not detonated. These actions prevented a considerably larger tragedy from occurring at Dimona's commercial center, which had been rocked by the first terrorist's bomb, at 10:30 a.m., that killed one woman and wounded 40. The nurse, Odeya Cohen, 34, was at work at the Maccabi Health Care Center at the other end of the Negev town's commercial center when she heard the blast; at first she thought it was a stun grenade. "I didn't even consider the idea that it was a terrorist attack," she later recalled. But seconds later, Dr. Baruch Mendelzweig hurried to the nurses station and said there had been an explosion. Grabbing a first-aid kit, Mendelzweig, Cohen and another nurse, Olga Lieberman, ran to the site. "I saw a lot of people running away from the direction that we were running toward," Cohen told The Jerusalem Post. "As we entered the passageway through the heart of the commercial center, we began to see body parts scattered around us," she said. Lieberman stopped to care for a wounded woman, while Cohen and Mendelzweig ran deeper into the chaos, to the area of the blast. They saw one dead woman and the scattered parts of the terrorist who had detonated himself just outside a store selling fashion accessories, gloves and socks. The two began to treat a young man lying nearby, inserting a breathing tube and preparing to insert an IV line. "Like any good nurse, I began to open his shirt to check for further injury," Cohen recalled later. "And then I saw that he was wearing a bomb belt that hadn't detonated." As she and Mendelzweig ran backwards, Cohen yelled to others nearby that there was a terrorist still alive, and that he was wearing a bomb. The place cleared out quickly; Lieberman and Cohen dragged a wounded woman to safety. Mor, who was appointed commander of the police's new, elite Magen unit less than a month ago, was just outside Dimona on an anti-drug operation when he received an initial report of the terrorist attack. He quickly redirected the officers under his command, including veteran detectives and former combat soldiers, to the scene. Mor arrived just after Cohen sounded the alarm that a second bomber was still alive and dangerous. "When I drove into the town, everything seemed normal," Mor said. "It was only when I got to the area of the commercial center that people started pointing me to the scene of the attack." A civilian approached him and told him that one of the terrorists was still alive. "I cocked my gun and ran toward the scene. I took cover, and observed that the terrorist was still moving, and that his hand was reaching toward the bomb belt," Mor said. "I shot him, once, and a bomb squad officer also shot at him. I saw his hand quiver and I thought that we had killed him." But Mor kept his eye on the would-be bomber, and "after about two minutes" was surprised to see the man's hand once again reaching toward the detonator. Mor dropped to one knee and opened fire again, this time killing the terrorist. "I acted according to what I learned," Mor said. "I didn't feel anything at the time." Israel Police chief Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said that Mor did "exactly what he had to do," and immediately promoted Mor from superintendent to chief-superintendent. Cohen added that Mor, a former company commander in the Paratrooper's Brigade, would also be awarded a citation for bravery.