On Friday afternoon, Mahmoud Aqal, a Palestinian from Hebron, posed as a journalist, mingling among the Arab-language media in order to gain close proximity to the IDF soldiers responding to a riot in Ramallah, allowing him to stab one soldier.
“The terrorist used the media as a cover to prepare for the attack and ran toward the officers from where the press was gathered,” a police spokesperson said.
#Israel’s Border Police publish pictures of #Ramallah attacker with group of journalists 30min before attack that they say “clearly shows terrorist exploited media presence to surprise force operating nearby.” pic.twitter.com/x8uD7jqY01
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) December 17, 2017
Aqal, wearing a vest made up of several objects covered in tape, connected with wires. Aqal managed to stab an IDF Border Policeman twice, injuring him moderately, before the soldiers could neutralize him.
Picture allegedly showing #Palestinian who lightly injured #Israel(i) border police officer in stabbing attack near #Ramallah. Authorities checking if he was wearing a suicide vest or if it’s fake pic.twitter.com/onGgVQ67dz
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) December 15, 2017
Shot three times, Aqal was taken away by a Red Crescent ambulance while still wearing the vest. The Palestinian Authority later reported that the device did not contain explosives.
“The Israel Police and Border Police will continue to operate in all areas and at the same time will continue to let the foreign media cover events, despite the threat caused by Palestinian terrorists,” the police said in a statement to the press.
This is not the first time a terrorist has disguised himself as a member of the press. In an identical situation in October 2015, a Palestinian wearing a shirt identifying him as “Press” stabbed an IDF soldier responding to a riot in Hebron.