Two armed Israeli citizens ended the killing spree of a terrorist who had killed four and wounded two in what The Times of Israel calls the country’s deadliest terror attack since 2016.
The attacker, a convicted terrorist who served four years in prison for plotting to join ISIS, began his rampage by stabbing a woman at a gas station in the town of Beersheba south of Jerusalem. He then rammed a cyclist with his car and stabbed several more people at a nearby shopping center.
At the shopping center, a bus driver named Arthur Chaimov noticed a man running around brandishing a knife. He exited his vehicle and confronted the man with his personal sidearm.
“I got closer and then I saw he had a knife. I saw a man [lying] wounded. I told [the stabber] several times: ‘I’m asking you to put down the knife. I won’t shoot you. He said ‘No,’” Chaimov told The Times.
In a video of the incident, Chaimov can be seen approaching the terrorist with his pistol raised. The attacker runs towards Chaimov several times, but the bus driver repels him by lowering his stance and taking aim.
Chaimov runs at the terrorist, who lunges back towards Chaimov with his knife raised. The bus driver fires once, as another armed civilian runs towards them. The terrorist drops to the ground after the first shot, and the second civilian fires two more rounds into his body.
Police commissioner Kobi Shabtai praised the men for taking decisive action. “Citizens displayed resourcefulness and killed the terrorist in the initial minutes,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issued a statement of condolences to the families of the victims and said “we will work with a heavy hand against those who commit terror. We will pursue and reach those who assist them, too.”
Israel is a heavily armed society, but there is no right to own a firearm. Gun owners must obtain a license from the state to own and carry a firearm, which involves mental and physical health checks and proficiency training. Still, public officials openly recognize the benefits of civilian gun ownership for protecting the public against these kinds of terrorist attacks.
“Trained citizens who hold weapons in the public sphere contribute to the feeling of security,” said Gilad Erdan in 2018. Erdan was the minister of public security at the time and had just announced new regulation relaxing the requirements to obtain a gun permit. “They are an important line of defense against ‘lone wolf’ actions and are used in a sense as a temporary force multiplier, thereby strengthening public safety.”