[MY TAKE IS THAT MANY RAN AWAY AND MANY STAYED.]
The military trainer that shot and purportedly killed the terrorist who rammed his truck into a group of people killing four in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood on Sunday claimed that IDF soldiers on the scene were hesitant to shoot due in part to the conviction of IDF soldier Elor Azaria on manslaughter charges.
The military trainer, identifying himself as Eitan, told Army Radio that “after rolling back on the grass, I saw the truck go in reverse, and then I realized that it wasn’t an accident.”
Eitan said, “I ran toward him and emptied my whole clip. He drove backward and onto the wounded again. I saw them quiet, some wounded and some scared. It wasn’t a good scene.”
Eitan said that he then began trying to evacuate the wounded and call for help.
He claimed that the soldiers who were on the scene were hesitant to shoot at the truck that slammed into the group of people. The fact that Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for shooting a wounded terrorist was the reason for this hesitation, according to Eitan.
“There was hesitation to open fire. I have no doubt that this was a significant factor, because all they tell them recently is to be careful. It could be that a few minutes less of hesitation and the situation would have been better,” he added.
Commander of the Officer’s School Col.Yaniv Aluf carried out a preliminary investigation of the incident, which appeared to contradict Eitan’s version of events.
Aluf’s investigation suggested that at least two cadets fired at close range toward the terrorist.
IDF Spokesman Moti Almoz backed this assertion, saying that it was incorrect to say that soldiers hesitated to shoot, or that the trial of Elor Azaria had some bearing on the incident.
Almoz said that some 300 people were in the area when the attack happened.
The soldiers did not understand at first that it was an attack, thinking it was a car accident, he said. “The moment that they realized that it was an attack, two cadets fired towards the truck,” Almoz added.
It was not clear if their shots killed the attacker or stopped the attack, but it is clear that they used their weapons, he said.
“The army does not know of any soldier who was afraid to shoot because of Azaria,” Almoz said, rejecting Eitan’s take on the events.