Sadly, a terrorist went on a bloody stabbing rampage in Israel on Tuesday where up to 12 innocent people were wounded, with four in serious condition, and the brutal siege left one person dead.
The victim who was stabbed to death was Taylor Force, an American citizen who was studying at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University and was a former U.S. Army veteran. Force graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the Army from 2009 to 2014, according to his LinkedIn page. Force served in both Iraq in Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Force’s wife was also attacked and is in critical condition.
The 29-year-old Force and his wife were in the port city of Jaffa, a popular tourist beachfront close to Tel Aviv. Over 20 minutes, Bashar Masalha, a 22-year-old Palestinian terrorist from the West Bank refugee camp in Qalqiliya stabbed random civilians along a crowded beach-side boulevard in Jaffa.
Force, originally from Lubbock, Texas, was rushed to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon where he was pronounced dead.
Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said Force “exemplified the spirit of discovery.”
“This horrific act of violence has robbed our Vanderbilt family of a young hopeful life and all of the bright promise that he held for bettering our greater world,” Zeppos said in a message to students and faculty.
The incident, which was at least the fourth outburst of violence in Israel on Tuesday, occurred about a mile away from where Vice President Joe Biden Jr. was meeting with a former president of Israel, Shimon Peres. Biden is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday. Vice President Biden commented on the tragedy.
Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai told a radio program, “A terrorist, an illegal resident who came from somewhere in the Palestinian territories, came here to Jaffa and embarked on a run … along the boardwalk. On his way he indiscriminately stabbed people.”
The terrorist was shot dead by police after a chase. Yishay Montgomery also encountered the crazed man during Masalha’s stabbing spree, but he was fortunate to escape. Montgomery was playing his guitar across the street when he was alerted to the chaos.
“I had just sat down to play my guitar near the ocean when I heard screams from down the road,” Montgomery said. “Immediately, I stood up and started to run after him with my guitar, I slammed it on his head. He was stunned and didn’t know what to do with himself.”
“Then, I realized that I was the only person who knew that he was the terrorist,” Montgomery said. “He started to run down the street. I left everything behind and shouted ‘terrorist,’ and started to run after him with a group of six to seven people.” Israeli police would soon shoot and kill the terrorist.
“If I didn’t have my guitar in my hand he would have succeeded in stabbing me,” Montgomery stated.
The 26-year-old rocking a Tool t-shirt is now being hailed as a real-life “Guitar Hero.” Montgomery busted his guitar trying to subdue the terrorist, but a local music store presented him with a new instrument for his bravery.
A GoFundMe page created by Ed-Malki Divr has already raised more than $4,000 of their goal of $5,000.
We commend Montgomery for his bravery, and our thoughts are with the Force family, and thank Taylor Force for his service.