Old City incident: Attacked soldier released from remand

The injured soldier; Photo credit: Honenu

Thursday, June 13, 2024, 13:24 Earlier today (Thursday), Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Tzion Saharay released from remand an IDF combat soldier (res.) who was brutally attacked, together with members of his family, some of them soldiers serving mandatory service, by rioting Arabs in the Old City of Jerusalem on the Shavuot holiday (June 11-12 this year). To protect his family from the attackers he was forced to fire his weapon. The court accepted the arguments for his release by Honenu Attorney Daniel Shimshilashvili, and ordered the release of the soldier under restrictive conditions for several days, rejecting a request by the police to extend his remand by five days.

The soldier, referred to as A., who serves in an elite combat unit, is a resident of central Israel, had completed reserve duty in Gaza a few weeks ago, and received a citation from the IDF Chief of Staff for valor in battle in Jenin. He was walking with his family in the Old City of Jerusalem on their way to the Western Wall when they were brutally attacked by rioting Arabs who tried to steal a weapon from one of the family. The soldier fired a single shot that injured one of the rioters. Initially, later that night, the police informed the soldier that he would be unconditionally released. However, the police changed their minds, and the soldier was brought to a court hearing. In light of the sensitivity of his military role and the circumstances of the incident, the court imposed a gag order on the identity of the soldier.

Honenu Attorney Daniel Shimshilashvili: “Just now, we concluded a hearing on the disgraceful request by the police to extend the exemplary elite combat soldier’s remand. He prevented the theft of the weapon by a terrorist who is now being held as an arrestee in the hospital. I welcome the decision by the court that examined the evidence, categorically rejected the baseless request by the police, and released my client. He will return to his family and continue to proudly serving his country.”

After the attack, members of the soldier’s family described the attack: “On the way to the Western Wall, an argument developed between a group of Arabs and A. and other family members. The Arabs blocked our path and threw things at us from all directions. Some of our family members who are soldiers in regular service and the reserves had their personal weapons with them and tried to extricate us from the site. At some point, one of the rioters grabbed one of the soldiers’ weapons and violently tried to wrest it from him. We were with women and children. We called out to the police, who did not come to our aid. After struggling for some time, the weapon almost passed into the hands of the Arab rioter. A. fired one bullet precisely at the rioter’s arm, and the incident ended. The women and children were screaming, the Arabs were throwing vases, plates and other heavy objects while surrounding us. A.’s actions were in defense of all of us, if the attackers had succeeded in snatching the gun there might have been a massacre, they tried to murder us, we experienced long minutes of terror.”

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