An Israeli couple says they fended off a Palestinian man armed with a knife and hoping to kidnap them when the wife ran upstairs to grab their gun and handed it to her husband who proceeded to shoot at the suspect.
Israel’s Shin Bet security service on Thursday told a Haifa court that the Palestinian suspect from the northern West Bank city of Jenin, Murad Mahmoud Hassan Ali Hassin, 25, admitted to entering the home in the northern Israeli town of Avtalion on April 19.
He said he was planning to take hostages in order to negotiate a deal to free Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, the Times of Israel reported.
The Israeli news site Ynet spoke to the homeowners, who recounted the harrowing events last month.
Israel and Ela Shay credit having a pistol in their home that allowed them to successfully repel their attacker.
The wife, Ela, described the scene to Ynet: "We were just the two of us at home and there were hard knocks on the door. Abnormally, the door was closed and that was lucky. When we opened the door he just burst in. He appeared to be under a lot of stress."
"He came in aggressively and I told him, 'Man, this is too much'," her husband Israel recounted. "He grabbed me forcefully with his hand and then I understood that this is a violent incident, so I pushed him outside. Everything happened in fractions of a second."
Ela said she then saw that he had a knife stuck in his pants.
"I yelled that he has a knife, so Israel fought with him and I run upstairs to get the gun and call the police," Ela told Ynet.
Israel described the struggle in the doorway when his wife retrieved the gun from upstairs.
"At the same moment I was leaning my shoulder on the door so that he couldn't break in. When there was a moment of calm I cocked the gun and went out after him. At that point he tried to get in through the second door to the house, which is made of glass," Israel Shay, the homeowner said.
That’s when Israel got about three feet from his unwelcome visitor and took a shot.
"I went to the other door, going through the house, and I stood one meter from him and aimed the pistol at him. He was holding a big rock in his hand and it took him a few seconds to realize that I was aiming at him, but when he saw the gun he dropped the rock, turned around, and ran," Israel said.
The husband, Israel, said he continued to run after the suspect and fired several more shots at him after the intruder ran into a nearby ravine and appeared to double back as if to try again to grab the Israeli couple.
"We acted just as we should," said Israel. "There was a bit of excitement, but it's very good to hear that they caught him."
Despite the couple’s successful repulsion of the attack, the suspect initially escaped, but an unspecified number of days later he was taken into police custody. He was remanded in a Haifa court on Thursday.
It would be very unlikely in Israel for a homeowner to be prosecuted for attempting to fend off what he believed to be a potentially lethal attack.
The Israeli news site NRG reported that Hassin had previously served time in prison for trying to stab an Israeli soldier.
According to the indictment which was reported on in the Israeli media Thursday, Hassin admitted to interrogators that he had tried to kidnap Israeli civilians several times during the month of April.
The Palestinian man who was reported to be a member of the Islamic Jihad terror group also admitted to throwing Molotov cocktails at two Israeli cars and tried unsuccessfully to set fire to a wooded area. The indictment said that despite his terrorist group affiliation he was acting as a lone wolf.
In 2000, Israel began constructing a security barrier along its border with the West Bank which dramatically reduced the number of suicide bombings that plagued the country during the 1990s. Pro-Palestinian activists, particularly on U.S. college campuses, call it an “apartheid” wall, claiming it to be a symbol of Israeli discrimination against Palestinians.
An unnamed Shin Bet security source on Thursday warned of the dangers of holes in the fence which allowed Hassin and other infiltrators to illegally enter Israel.