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An 18-year-old recent conscript from Jerusalem, who had just completed basic training this week, was having a day off in town yesterday. Riding his bicycle on the way home, he saw a bulldozer overturning a bus. He says he immediately realized this was a terrorist attack.

"I approached the bus on my bicycle, and then began to run to the site, looking for a weapon to use against the terrorist," he told reporters yesterday. The military censor imposed a gag order on his identity.

Near the bulldozer the young soldier found a civilian, Oron Ben-Shimon, 28, a regional manager of a security firm in Jerusalem, who was armed. "Together we tried to neutralize the terrorist, at least to lift his feet off the pedals.

"He shouted 'Allah Akbar.' At that moment I pulled the pistol that Oron carried and shot the terrorist three times in the head. After I verified that he was dead, I raised the pistol to make sure that passersby were not hurt," he recounted.

"I went out on Jaffa Road," says Oron, "and as I was driving I saw a crowd of people shouting 'terrorist' and 'mad man.' I put on a police hat, and took my pistol and ran toward the bulldozer."

"I saw a policeman on the bulldozer with a drawn gun. I holstered my weapon and the policeman told me there was no need to shoot him because he passed out and we need to pull him out of the bulldozer.

"And then the terrorist woke up and grabbed the wheel and tried to run over more people. I was already on the bulldozer and I hit him with my fists in the face in an effort to take over the wheel. I shouted to the young man near me to shoot him. He drew my pistol from the holster and shot him three times in the head."

Later the anti-terrorist patrol policeman shot him twice. "There was no real need to confirm the guy's death. He was finished," Oron said.

Four months ago, when a terrorist entered the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem and murdered eight students, Captain David Shapira, a paratroop officer, shot and killed the terrorist. Shapira is the young soldier's brother-in-law.

Strength and courage

Shapira had heard the shots from across the street, grabbed his rifle and ran to the yeshiva, shooting the terrorist dead in the library. The young soldier called his brother-in-law several minutes after he shot the terrorist and filled him in on the details.

"I thank my brother-in-law for giving me the strength and courage to act the way I did," the soldier said. "He served as a role model for me. I am excited - not every day do we get such a privilege. This was a killing spree in the middle of our sacred country, and our hearts are full of pain for the dead in the attack," he said in a statement yesterday.