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Terrorist previously sentenced to eight years for violent offenses but was released early

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Terror at the Kotel: Amir Sidawi and the gun he used to carry out the attack near Jerusalem’s Old City (Photo: Israel Police)

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(JNS) A terrorist told interrogators he targeted a bus station near the Kotel on Sunday morning because there were no security cameras installed – and that he had been convicted of serious violent crimes in the past.

However, Amir Sidawi served only five years of an eight-year sentence before earning an early release from Hermon prison. Channel 12 reported the parole board shaved his prison time for good behavior and participation in an educational and treatment program.

The Israel Police opposed granting him freedom because of the seriousness of the violence he committed, his background as a murder suspect, and because the clan rivalry he had been part of was still ongoing. According to JNS, “A year after his release, Sidawi requested that certain limitations imposed on him at his release be lifted. Police again protested, however, the court granted his request. Three months ago, the limitations were removed.”

Eight people were wounded, two severely, after the gunman opened fire around daybreak on Sunday at two locations. 

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The first burst was aimed at a bus waiting in a parking lot near the Western Wall, wounding two brothers as they boarded. One of them, 19 year old Elazar, treated the other wounded on the scene despite his injuries, as he is a Magen David Adom first aid responder.

Sidhawi, a resident of Jerusalem, ran to another spot on Ma’aleh Shalom Street and wounded another six pedestrians. One was a pregnant 35 year old who underwent an emergency C-section and delivered a baby; both are in serious condition.  Four of the other victims are members of an ultra-Orthodox family from Brooklyn.

According to the New York Post, Senator Chuck Shumer explained the father, Shia Hersch Glick of Williamsburg, “was shot in the neck while shielding his wife and kids” and is “a cancer survivor beloved by all in the community”. He was in critical condition on a respirator but expected to survive.  

Channel 12 reported that after the attack, Sidawi fled to a cemetery in nearby Silwan, where he left his cellphone. A family in the neighborhood refused to help him, so he hid in a crate aboard a truck on its way to Bayit VeGan, a neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem. According to Ynet, he then took a taxi to a nearby police station and surrendered. He left the weapon used in the attack on the floor of the taxi, according to the report.  

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A spokemans for Hamas praised the “heroic operation” against the “arrogance of the occupation’s soldiers and extremist settlers,” according to the Washington Post, but the terror group did not claim responsibility.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid proclaimed, “The Jerusalem area will be significantly boosted [by security forces] to prevent copycat attacks, but I want to emphasize – the capital of Israel is safe, open, strong and welcoming to tourists and residents alike.”

In response to the terror attack, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder released a statement: “Jerusalem’s Old City holds sacred significance to Jews, Muslims and Christians and, sadly, it has again been turned into a site of tragedy. Tonight’s attack is a stark reminder that rocket fire from Gaza isn’t the only threat that the people of Israel face. They must constantly remain vigilant of the danger that might lurk around the next corner. The thoughts of the Jewish world are with the victims of this heinous act. We wish them the swiftest recovery possible.”

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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