We prayed that he would stop, come to his senses and turn around – but he did not
As part of Operation Protective Edge, we received information about a terrorist squad hiding in a certain building. When we reached the building our mission was to settle in it, secure ourselves and to wait for further instructions. We entered the building and I examined it in order to identify points from which we could view and control the territory. When I entered the children’s room I noticed an open study book which teaches Arabic letters on the table. When I turned it upside down, I saw its cover showed a masked man holding an RPG rocket on his shoulder. I was shocked. I thought to myself that when I was a child, I wrapped my notebooks with pictures of soccer teams or my favorite cartoon figures. I realized I am in a completely different place.
Later that day, as we were securing ourselves and guarding the house, we received a notification from a nearby force about a figure that was seen moving in our direction. We looked through the window and identified a figure riding on something. It was hard to identify it exactly because the figure was moving between buildings. Only when it reached the main road did we understand that the figure was a person on a wheelchair. Between myself I wished that he would just turn around because I knew exactly where this was going. I understood who sent him and what his destination was.
We gave him all the possible warnings. We warned him on the loudspeaker, we fired warning shots in the air and additional warning shots at a safe distance from him. He did not stop, he kept moving towards us. Even when we reached the point that by our rules of engagement we had to fire at him, we all still prayed that he would stop, come to his senses and turn around – but he did not. Had he turned around we would have done nothing to him. Eventually we had to shoot him because he came too close and had put us in real danger. Afterwards, when we examined the scene, we saw the person, we saw the wheelchair and underneath the chair we identified a powerful explosive device that was meant to us. This was a cynical and vicious abuse of a disabled person.