Yesterday we kept you updated on the vicious stabbing attack on a Tel Aviv bus, including the story of a brave eighth grader who fought the terrorist off with his backpack. Today, The Jerusalem Post provides these gripping eyewitness accounts of the Holy Land’s latest brush with terror:
For almost two hours on Wednesday morning, one of central Tel Aviv’s busiest junctions was gripped with fear and adrenaline, as dozens of witnesses and journalists recounted the city’s first lonewolf terrorist attack in over two months.
Kazis Metzliyah, the head of the traffic division for the Dan bus company, was one of the first to hear about the attack. Around 7:30 a.m. his phone rang, and on the other end was Herzl Biton, the driver of the No. 40 bus.
Moments earlier, Biton had been stabbed repeatedly by the attacker, whom the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) named as 23-year-old Hamza Muhammad Hassan Matruch from Tulkarm. “He told me he was going to die, and if he does, to take care of his children for him … ”
Moses Collins witnessed the attack from a second No. 40 bus riding behind the one where the attack happened.
He saw people running off the bus in front of him, he said, but didn’t understand why at the time. His bus stopped, and the passengers got off and gathered on the pavement, unsure of what had happened on the bus in front of them.
Collins said he had seen the attacker run south down Menachem Begin and then disappear off a side street.
Standing at the scene on Wednesday, one could piece together the timeline of the attack – if one just followed the blood …
The blood remained in the parking lot around the corner, where Ezra Malfout, a middle- aged employee of the lot, stood helping a customer.
“They’re lucky I was a medic in a combat unit. Two of the victims were stabbed and laid here, and I helped them and stopped the bleeding until the paramedics came,” he said.
He added that he had seen the attacker flee through his parking lot with knife in hand, chasing two victims with what Malfout said seemed like a clear intent to kill. Malfout said he had taken out a metal rod and chased the man away from the two victims.
“If I’d had a gun, I would have shot him right there,” he said.
A few meters away, Liz Rami was just starting her work day at a car dealership. She said police had told her they’d come by to take surveillance footage from the office’s cameras, which had captured some of the attack while she was still on her way to work.
Asked how she felt, knowing there had been a violent terrorist attack just outside her workplace, she said she wasn’t afraid at all. But her arms were crossed and she seemed apprehensive, and she eventually admitted she felt uneasy.
“It’s scary, but it’s not like it’s going to happen again right here. It just happened here; next time it’ll be somewhere else,” she said.