On Tuesday, a unit of Israel’s Border Police, stationed at the entrance to the small town of Har Adar, approximately 15 km (roughly 9.3 miles) to the west of Jerusalem, was screening a group of Arab workmen who had arrived at the scene; one of them, reportedly employed in Har Adar as a cleaner, was a terrorist.
Armed with a pistol reportedly stolen from the Israel Defense Forces, the terrorist, identified as Nimer Ahmad Mahmoud Jamal, a 37-year-old father of four, from the nearby village of Beit Surik, firing with deadly accuracy and amazing rapidity, managed to kill three of the people there and seriously wound a fourth before another border policeman was able to shoot him dead with an assault rifle. Jamal had no previous record of involvement in terrorism.
As reported in numerous Israeli media outlets, the identities of the three victims have been released. They were: Border Police Officer St. Sgt. Solomon Gavriya, 20, of Be’er Ya’aqov; security guard Youssef Ottman, 25, of Abu Ghosh, a suburb of Jerusalem; and security guard Or Arish, also 25, a resident of Ha Adar serving as a guard. All three have been laid to rest; hundreds of mourners attended S/Sgt. Gaviria’s funeral
S/Sgt. Gaviria, of Ethiopian extraction and by all accounts a very highly regarded member of the Ethiopian community in his home town, had been a member of the Border Police for less than two years. In an earlier incident, he had been wounded by a knife-wielding terrorist, whom he had at the time managed to ward off, despite his wounds. Nonetheless, he had insisted on returning to duty at the earliest possible time after his recovery from that incident, and has now been been killed. He is survived by two sisters and a brother.
Subsequently, Israeli security forces raided the village from which the terrorist came and arrested three people, including the terrorist’s two brothers, suspected of complicity in the attack.
The Border Police serve throughout Israel, and are responsible for the day-to-day security of the borders, as well as the security of the Jewish neighborhoods of such mixed cities as Haifa, Jaffa, and Jerusalem, as well as the various cities, towns, an villages in Yehuda and Shomron, the so-called “West Bank” of the Jordan River which has been under Israeli administration since the conclusion of the Six Day War in 1967. Aside from Israeli Jews doing their national service, many Israeli Druze and Muslim and Christian Arabs serve in the Border Police.
Over the last two years, 48 Israelis have been killed in terrorist incidents, mostly, though not exclusively, in Jerusalem, Yehuda, and Shomron, as well as two Americans and a British tourist. Many more have been wounded in such incidents. Thanks to the dedication and courage of such people as Gaviria and Othman, the number of casualties has not been much higher.