Police chief: Slain police who killed Hadera terrorists prevented mass casualties

“They planned a much larger killing spree and planned to murder everyone who crossed their path,” Police Chief Kobi Shabtai said.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Police chief Kobi Shabtai credited the off-duty border policemen who killed two terrorists with preventing a mass casualty event.

Several border police officers were in the vicinity of the bus stop that was the target of terrorist cousins Ibrahim and Ayman Aghbaria, Israeli-Arabs from Umm Al-Fahm. Two 19-year-old off-duty officers, Corporals Yazan Falah and Shirel Aboukrat, were shot as they ran towards the gunfire. Critically injured, they died soon after. Twelve victims were wounded in the attack, some seriously.

Another three officers, members of an undercover unit, were eating nearby and sprinted to the scene. One of them told Channel 12 what happened.

“Two of my men engaged two terrorists,” he said, with his back strategically turned to the camera. “I got there a fraction of a second later and saw a terrorist in front of me with a ceramic vest and three magazines, holding an M-16 and firing in the direction of the fighters. I neutralized him.

“At the same time my men were firing at a different angle…. I realized there was another terrorist hiding behind a car, one of the men caught some bullets and fell…. I identified the terrorist, shot and neutralized him.”

Four border policemen were injured in the attack in total. Shabtai visited them at Hillel Yafeh Hospital after ordering forces to carry out security sweeps in the region and set up roadblocks, as well as to bring in extra officers to increase the police presence in city centers, Channel 12 reported.

“You did the maximum that can be expected of someone in such a situation, which is a matter of seconds,” Shabtai told one of the injured.

Bemoaning the “heavy price” of losing two fighters, he told another, “The two came with such an amount of ammunition that if they had not been taken down at that moment, we would have woken up to a different morning in the number of those murdered. They planned a much larger killing spree and planned to murder everyone who crossed their path.”