Palestinians pray as posters depicting Palestinian gunman Ali Abu Dhaim hang in a tent near his house in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal Mukaber March 13, 2008. Abu Dhaim, who killed eight Israelis in a seminary, has been buried in the dead of night, after a delay because of fears by Israeli authorities that a public funeral might trigger protests and violence. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis (JERUSALEM)

Vol.14, No.3 Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

A terrorist infiltrated and attacked the Inside the city, there are minimal checkpoints Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood near the entrance to Jerusalem on Thursday, 06 March 2008 at approximately 2045 local time. The attacker opened fire with an automatic weapon and discharged large amounts of ammunition on a study hall, killing eight people and wounding 11. At the time of the attack, the students were about to begin a party celebrating Jewish period of happiness prior
and roadblocks. Outside, the city is surrounded by checkpoints and roadblocks as well as the security fence intended to keep terrorists from penetrating local towns and cities.

As a vehicle driver, Abu Dhaim may have transported children to the targeted school (as well as other sites) on numerous occasions; thereby enabling him to identify potential targets. In Israel there is a tendency for drivers to use “minivan” vehicle services as an alternative form of transportation (similar to a taxi cab service). The vehicle that Abu Dhaim drove (Ford Transit) conformed to the environment (a vehicle common for the transport of students) at all hours of the day and is a vehicle model widely seen throughout the city.

able to park the vehicle in the vicinity of the school. Based on Abu Dhaim’s knowledge of the school layout, it is likely that he was aware of the location of the students and systematically advanced floor-by-floor to the library. Upon approach to the library entrance, the attacker began his assault on students that were outside of the room.

Response Phase
The response by law enforcement and security forces was immediate. Initial reports, relayed to patrol units enroute to the scene, indicated that this was an incident of “firecrackers.” Immediately, it was reassessed by civilians on location as a terror related attack. Patrol, plainclothes officers, and special tactical units were dispatched—operating under an active shooter response. The priority response for incoming police units to an active shooter scenario is to engage the shooter as fast as possible, pulling the fire away from civilians and toward the law enforcement officers. An off duty security officer

to the holiday of Purim. Using deception Based on the terror operation, it is apparent and cover tactics, the adversary entered the attacker did extensive surveillance on the the facility and began firing at the students. The adversary was neutralized by security forces in the middle of his attack. The purpose of this paper is to discuss lessons learned by law enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) when responding to an active shooter incident.
location, and at all hours of the day and night, in order to tactically identify the ideal moment for assault. As a result of his planning and intelligence gathering, the terrorist was able to choose the time and day when there would be a large presence of students on location.

Tactics and Weaponry
The 26-year-old gunman had taken considerable time to plan his attack. Recent patterns of attacks inside Jerusalem included simultaneous assaults of an educational institution and a police checkpoint. Such attacks, utilizing all types of weapons, should be monitored in an attempt to identify future patterns and reasons for this type of assault as opposed to explosive devices and suicide bomber tactics. According to Israeli police, the gunman had packed weapons and ammunition inside a cardboard television box, allowing him to advance to the target freely and without alerting suspicion. There were initial reports that students believed he was delivering a package to the school. As the attacker advanced to the target, he was aware of the fact that, unlike most educational institutions in the country, there was no security presence at the entrance to the facility. Ultimately, he entered the school unchallenged.

Based on the terror operation, it is apparent the attacker did extensive surveillance on the location, and at all hours of the day and night, in order to tactically identify the ideal moment for assault. As a result of his planning and intelligence gathering, the terrorist was able to choose the time and day when there would be a large presence of students on location.

Adversary Background
Since the shooting attack, it is known that Israeli police have arrested eight people. Currently, it remains unclear whether the shooter had acted alone. The “Galilee Freedom Brigades,” an Israeli-Arab group, has claimed responsibility for the attack as a Hezbollah proxy. The military wing of the Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, also claimed responsibility in a phone call to the news agency, Reuters Group, PLC and announced over mosque loudspeakers in the Gaza Strip. The attacker, Ala Abu Dhaim of East Jerusalem, engaged to be married, had not been known to law enforcement and had apparently worked as a driver for a number of private clients in the city. Recently, Abu Dhaim had become religious but he did not appear to have any affiliations with radical organizations.

Target Identification
Abu Dhaim had a number of advantages that enabled him to identify his target and effectively gather thorough intelligence. Because he was a resident of Jerusalem, Abu Dhaim could move throughout the city with minimal delays at checkpoints established by Israeli authorities to identify adversaries entering into the city.

Attack Phase
Leaving his place of residence with the weapons (an AK-47, two handguns, ammunition, and a commando knife) the adversary advanced to the target unhindered. He was familiar with the route, did not require an escort to lead him to the site, and was

(R1), a neighbor of the school, was closest to the scene. Upon hearing the shots fired, he went to the school to engage the attacker. R1, familiar with ingress and egress points of the building, entered the school through a rear door and began sweeping the facility, listening for the sound of the gunfire. A student of the seminary, who left the library 10-15 minutes

www.iacsp.com prior to the attack (R2), heard the shots and decided to take a high ground position with his personal weapon. Lying on the balcony of the school, R2 awaited for an opportunity when the attacker would enter his line of site to employ lethal force against the gunmen[JDP1]. enter the hostile environment or the need to acquire authorization. Israel National Police, under most mass casualty incidents, have been mandated to control overall command of such a scene. The establishment of an incident command structure within the police department includes operational units, investigatory offices, explosives experts, and intelligence units. Among the responsibilities for law enforcement personnel on the location of a terror attack (and at any other large incident) is the neutralization and rendering safe of any imminent threats and the establishment of secure perimeters for the first responders. Ingress and egress to the scene, as well as between the scene and the medical treatment facilities, are secured by highway and patrol units. Operating under these conditions, inter-agency training is a critical component to mitigation of the incident. Common inter-agency operating plans must be reviewed and exercised at the command and field levels in order to apply a measure of strategic response. Commanders must display a level of confidence to ensure all active emergency personnel are able to operate under clear guidelines for such a threat. An active shooter response needs to be aggressive, mission specific, and proactive to a situation where any delay only increases the adversary’s success. A tactical concept that all responders must understand is the need to engage the attacker in order to draw active gunfire away from civilians. Such a concept should include clear operational guidelines and policies, communications, which assist in mitigating injury to civilians and emergency personnel. When tactical decisions are made in an instantaneous fashion, immediate goals are met and the system operates efficiently, with minimal loss and a quick return to normalcy for citizens.

Emergency medical personnel are acutely aware of the threats ...two terrorists dressed in security guard associated with the uniforms infiltrated a religious school in a small entrance in to a hoscommunity south of Jerusalem. The terrorists, tile scene until law enforcement can asarmed...were challenged immediately by sure scene safety. civilians on location and who opened fire on Such awareness allows for the swift the attackers. During the attack, the terrorists operational response The first arriving were able to stab two Israeli civilians, injuring by EMS personnel units included a them moderately. The civilians were able to in the evacuation plainclothes unit and rescue of the (R3) assigned to thwart a terror attack that could have had similar injured. Likewise, major crimes and results as the Jerusalem school massacre, by law enforcement utithe Central Comlizes the maximum mand of the National immediately interdicting with lethal force... amount of resources Police. This unit to secure the perimimmediately entered History has shown that during an active shooter eters with a series of the structure, as per over watches, patrol, police policy to exincident it is a matter of seconds, not minutes, that checkpoints, and peditiously engage will determine the number of lives lost or at risk. plainclothes units. the attacker. The off Bomb squad units duty security officer and tactical teams (R1) arriving from operate with great speed his home did not have and discretionary caution. any means to readily identify himself upon entering the scene. As a result, the officer Results (R3) that entered the building passed a police duty hat to R1 The quick response by law for identification. The primary enforcement and security means of communication and building outside the main entrance. personnel possibly prevented a coordination between R1 and R3 Evacuation under gunfire was much worse scenario resulting were relayed verbally, while R3 begun by first arriving EMS units. in more casualties. First armaintained communications via This was an attempt to maintain the riving law enforcement units the EOC’s dedicated emergency golden response rule of the evacua- immediately engaged the atchannel. The terrorist was engaged tion of all non-ambulatory injured tacker with the assistance of initially by R2 from a distance. R1, within 20 minutes. Jerusalem hos- an off duty soldier and student from the hallway, eventually neu- pitals went on MCI (Mass Casualty already on location. The fear tralized the gunman in coordination Incident) alert status immediately of possible secondary attackwith R3 from the library study. upon notification of the shooting. e r s o r d e v i c e s o n l o c a t i o n Hospitals received timely updates was handled by teams that are In any terror related attack, Jeru- as to the medical evacuation sta- trained for clearing buildings salem Police begin searching for tus by the Jerusalem Police EOC under similar circumstances. additional attackers, secondary (Emergency Operations Center), Such teams include a tactical devices, and any accomplices flee- as well as from the Incident Com- element followed by explosive ing the scene. This includes the manders at the Unified Command ordinance technicians. clearing of the entire building by established near the attack site. special teams comprised of tacti- Interactions between police and The established response plans ascal personnel and the bomb squad. EMS dealt with scene safety and sociated with all law enforcement It was initially believed there was suspicious items and individuals and EMS responders addressed the at least one additional terrorist on identified by EMS. need for neutralization of the threat location, resulting in a delay of (active shooter) and the immediate medical evacuation by EMS. All Medical response was initiated by evacuation of the injured from the additional threats were ruled out in EMS and incident command was scene. Rescue of the non-ambulaapproximately two hours. established with law enforcement tory injured by medical personnel personnel taking primary scene com- is based on the need to remove the mand. The response was expedited injured from the scene of potential Medical Response by all agencies. The central EMS secondary threats, while minimizApproximately 50 EMS units re- headquarters was minutes away and ing the amount of time on location. sponded to the scene from the Jeru- the system was supported by a rapid This minimizes the amount of time salem area. First arriving units were response of local volunteers. There needed to transfer the injured to met by fleeing students from the was no delay in organizing teams to a medical treatment facility. The

Lessons Learned for American Law Enforcement
To effectively respond to an active shooter incident, law enforcement and EMS need to train and conduct field exercises in conjunction with other relevant agencies. The need for first responders to aggressively respond to an active shooter incident requires that those responders and their respective agencies follow guidelines that address the tactics, tech-


Vol.14, No.3 Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

niques and procedures that support such a response. A case study, pointing to the need for enhanced training exercises is the Trolley Square Mall shooting that occurred in Salt Lake City, Utah on 12 February 2007. In this case, the aggressive actions of a lone off duty officer diverted the deadly actions of the active shooter away from civilians and towards himself. This action resulted in the saving of numerous civilian lives and assisted law enforcement by pinning down the shooter until a tactical response was organized. On 24 January 2008, at approximately 2200 hours local time, two terrorists dressed in security guard uniforms infiltrated a religious school in a small community south of Jerusalem. The terrorists, armed with what appeared to be a firearm and sharp instruments, were challenged immediately by civilians on location and who opened fire on the attackers. During the attack, the terrorists were able to stab two Israeli civilians, injuring them moderately. The civilians were able to thwart a terror attack that could have had similar results as the Jerusalem school massacre, by immediately interdicting with lethal force. History has shown that during an active shooter incident it is a matter of seconds, not minutes, that will determine the number of lives lost or at risk. Therefore, the current industry standard for patrol response to an active shooter incident should be re-examined. Most law enforcement agencies and tactical organizations have trained police personnel in rapid response to active shooter drills. These drills have been focused on a team concept (three to four person configurations). Some considerations of implementing a one or two officer team response have been discussed and even trained, but the lingering discussion of “officer safety” continues to surface. Many law enforcement agencies and tactical organizations have adopted the three to four team concept to maximize officer safety. This response was designed under the premise that in an active shooter incident the first responder at or on the scene is going to be a School Resource Officer (SRO) or a patrol officer. This was designed for officers who have less tactical training than SWAT team personnel and who need to deploy in a team configuration to maximize their own safety.

Officer safety has been and will continue to be a top priority for all law enforcement agencies and tactical organizations. However, the law enforcement community must weigh officer safety against the loss of civilian lives in an active shooter incident. The Columbine High School Massacre in April, 1999 forced law enforcement to reevaluate its response protocols to the active shooter and new tactics have since evolved to address the issue. Now, after almost ten years of addressing the tactical issues of active shooter incidents, law enforcement and the civilian communities must address the lessons learned from these incidents and re-evaluate their current tactics and procedures. The law enforcement community should consider a more aggressive response to an active shooter incident which may require a one or two person response team to engage the threat. This response may need to be carried out by a SRO, patrol officer, or an off duty officer. When seconds make the difference in saving lives, officers can no longer afford to wait minutes for back-up units to arrive. Law enforcement officers have a proud tradition and moral obligation that puts them at risk to save the lives of innocent civilians.

In February, 1997 during the North Hollywood Shootout, the Los Angeles Police Department was clearly out-gunned by bank robbers Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Matasareanu. The aggressive actions of the patrol officers held the robbers at bay, preventing their escape, and eventually brought about their demise. Those actions saved innocent lives and improved critical response time for responding police assets. Through proper training and the issuing of necessary equipment (tactical rifles/shotguns w/slings, light systems for all weapons and mechanical breaching tools for patrol) law enforcement personnel will be able to respond immediately to such incidents like the North Hollywood Shootout, allowing them to save lives. By no means are we advocating that law enforcement agencies discard their current active shooter training programs. In fact, current policies and procedures support the very tactics we are advocating. For example, when an officer responding to an active shooter incident moves towards the gunfire and the gunfire subsequently ceases, we do not advocate that the officer transition into a lone officer search mode. The officer should hold a position of cover nearest to the area where they last heard gunfire. The officer should request assistance at their location, and when assistance arrives, begin searching for the suspect. While waiting for assistance, if the suspect becomes active and engages in deadly behavior, the officer should move toward the gun fire and neutralize the threat. Likewise, if the active shooter takes a hostage and becomes barricaded in a position of advantage, the officer should follow their department’s barricaded suspect protocol. If the situation were to become prolonged and as other officers arrive on location, the officer would then transition into a contact/rescue team configuration. The following key recommendations are derived from the Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook shooting incident: 1. Regular training sessions can assist in preparing for the proper response and ease the coordination and collaboration of the responding agencies. Training should include techniques to identify plainclothes officers and off-duty officers operating in such an arena. 2. Immediate response considerations need to address fleeing suspects within the crowd of victims. 3. Clear training, policies, and procedures need to address the engaging of the attacker through the basic tactical principles of “speed, surprise and violence of action.” • Tactical movement of officers. • Police vs. police crossfire issues. • Appropriate weaponry and equipment to engage the threat. • Tactical rifles/shotguns w/slings. • Light systems for all weapons. • Additional ammunition and magazines . • Mechanical breaching tools . 4. Different response scenarios should be addressed both at the policy and procedure stages as well as “going out” and testing the plan. 5. Success is dependent upon a number of considerations which include inter-agency cooperation between all of the relevant agencies at all levels of incident command. In addition, there is an inherent need to initiate an expedited dissemination of information to other security agencies assisting in the interdiction of the threat. 6. Regular inter-agency training, with open dialogue and cooperation between all agencies, clear planning, and effective communications using incident command. 7. Command level ability to make strategic and tactical decisions based on the needs of the district, and the specific incident. 8. Planning must include clear guidelines for perimeter security, security at other sensitive locations, as well as medical treatment facilities and the protection of staging points. 9. Training and exercise objectives should include an evaluation of emergency communications between agencies for evacuation of personnel from unsafe scenes. Communication procedures should include the integration of plainclothes officers, off-duty officers, and other relevant agencies. For more information about ITRR vist: www.terrorresponse.org

The authors of this article recognize the inherent risk to police officers while implementing these tactics, but we believe that those risks can be minimized if officers adhere to the following basic tactical principles of “speed, surprise, and violence of action.” There are also some common sense actions that need to occur prior to officer response. Once the arriving officer has assessed the situation, formulated an action plan, steps must be taken to communicate their tactics to other responders. This can be accomplished by police radio, cell phone[JDP2] or through a third party (i.e. victim/witness). This action – identification of nonuniformed personnel – is especially critical for off-duty personnel and plain clothes officers. In the assessment process, each officer should make an evaluation of the threat and their ability to neutralize the threat. The possibility of multiple suspects with automatic weapons should be assumed but should not prevent a rapid response by law enforcement.

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