Police officers honored for risking lives to stop terror

Dozens of police officers received commendations for extraordinary displays of bravery and operational excellence in lifethreatening situations, in a ceremony at the capital's Tower of David Museum on Sunday. The citations were awarded by Israel Police Ins.-Gen. David Cohen. Among those honored were the Negev Subdistrict's F.-Sgt. Gilad Baskater, a bomb squad officer, and Ch.-Supt. Yaakov Mor, who were at the scene of the suicide bombing in Dimona in February 2008. Georgian immigrant Lubov Razdolskaya was killed and seven people were wounded when the first of two Hamas suicide bombers from Hebron set off explosives. The second terrorist lay injured on the floor, and he began moving his hand toward a detonator wired to explosives strapped around his body. Baskater evacuated civilians and firstresponders, before spotting the second terrorist trying to set off more explosives. He immediately opened fire, killing the attacker. Mor fired shots at the terrorist as well, helping to prevent a larger loss of life. Baskater and Mor received the Commissioner's Citation for operational excellence, awareness and showing initiative and professionalism. FSM Shadi Dao and FSM Elinor Nahum received awards for their response to a terrorist attack in which Husam Taysir Dwayat, a 30-year-old resident of the southeast neighborhood of Sur Bahir, commandeered a bulldozer and plowed into civilians and vehicles in the capital. During the July 2, 2008, attack, in which three passersby were murdered and 44 were wounded, Dao ran in front of the bulldozer, distracting the terrorist and turning himself into a target. As the bulldozer lunged forward toward him, Nahum ran to its side and opened fire on the driver, injuring him and slowing down the attack. Dao then climbed into the tractor cabin, and with the help of a civilian and an offduty IDF soldier, wrestled with the terrorist, who had managed to resume the attack, until the driver was shot dead by the soldier. Both Dao and Nahum were awarded for bravery, showing initiative, and setting an example. The most decorated police officer on the force, a Beduin officer in the Judea and Samaria Border Police who can only be identified as M.H., on Sunday added another citation to his five previous awards, for his heroic role in a gun battle with Islamic Jihad terrorists in Jenin. On February 21, 2007, M.H. took part in an undercover Border Police raid on the head of Islamic Jihad in the city, Louis Sa'adi. Sa'adi became aware that a vehicle was following him as he drove in Jenin. He made a quick U-turn and pulled over in a central square, near to a number of armed Palestinian Authority police officers, opened his car door, and fired three shots into the air. He then directed his firearm at the border policemen. M.H. raised his hands in the air, and smiled at Sa'adi. The Islamic Jihad leader became reassured, lowered his weapon, and continued driving. M.H and fellow officer FSM A.N. opened fire, killing the senior terrorist. They then disarmed the nine PA police officers who were present. Within a week, Islamic Jihad had appointed a replacement for Sa'adi. M.H. was sent into into Jenin again, in an unarmored vehicle, together with a Border Police counterterrorism task force. The undercover officers were spotted by terrorists, who fled into an alley while opening fire on the Israelis. M.H. returned fire from his car window, before exiting the vehicle and running at the gunmen. With bullets flying at him, he continued to fire his weapon, killing three terrorists, including Sa'adi's replacement. M.H. was awarded for striving to engage under fire, showing initiative and bravery.