Eye witnesses to the latest terrorist atrocity in Tel Aviv have said “it felt like a movie” after a 23-year old Palestinian man stabbed over a dozen people on a bus on Wednesday morning.
Student Liel Suissa, 13, told how he smashed a bus window with his elbow to escape the knife-wielding terrorist from the Tulkarem refugee camp in the West Bank, who was later shot in the leg by nearby prison guards.
Twelve people, including the driver, were injured – three critically – as Hamza Matrouk continued his chilling attack by chasing passengers off the No. 40 Dan bus, which was stuck in traffic at Maariv Bridge, a busy intersection.
“I was under stress at first, but then I got over it,” said Suissa. “I feel alright. It felt like a movie, not like something real.”
One of the injured, 22-year old Sapir Tzioni, was on her way to work. “I saw the terrorist begin to stab people wildly and I heard screaming,” she said. “He started stabbing the driver and slowly advance. Everyone ran to the back, on top of one another, and tried to open the doors. He was right behind me.”
Emergency services released a recording of a phone-call from a panicked woman reporting the attack, in which she can be heard saying she felt like her whole body was covered in blood.
As details emerged, driver Herzl Biton was being hailed as a hero for repeatedly tackling the terrorist, including with pepper spray, despite having been attacked and injured himself.
Shin Bet interrogators said the Palestinian man, who was detained, later cited last summer’s conflict in Gaza and Jewish politicians’ prayer visits to Temple Mount as his motivation for the attack – the first in the city since November.
Hospital sources said 80 units of blood had been used, an unusually high amount for the number of victims, which clinicians said gave an indication as to the nature and severity of the wounds.
Gaza-based Islamist movement Hamas praised the attacker as “brave” and said his actions were “natural response to the occupation and its terrorist crimes against our people”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “The attack in Tel Aviv is the direct result of the poisonous incitement spread by the Palestinian Authority toward the Jews and their state. The same terror tries to harm us in Paris, Brussels, and everywhere.”
— StandWithUs (@StandWithUs) January 21, 2015