The Border Police officers who were wounded on Wednesday by Palestinian assailants near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem — Hadar Cohen, 19, died of her injuries, while a second officer, whose name had not been cleared for publication, was in serious condition — were recruited only two months ago.
They had not completed basic training before being stationed at the sensitive location, the site of several attacks in recent months. In a statement, the Border Police said the women had “completed minimal training that enabled their deployment.”
Cohen and her fellow officer were sworn in last Thursday, in a ceremony that is held slightly after the halfway point in basic training.
Until this week, the two women had taken part in training but this was their first operational deployment.
At this stage it is not yet clear why the two were assigned to such a volatile location.
"She really was a girl that everyone loved. She was a good and gorgeous girl, she achieved everything she wanted," said her aunt, Zehavit Cohen. Cohen had very much wanted to join the Border Police and dreamed of becoming a commander, she said. "She always said that’s she's having fun and that she's doing well, even when it was difficult.
The aunt criticized the stationing of inexperienced fighters at Damascus Gate. "It's surprising and hard that she was placed there after two months. It’s too much. They're still rookies They were given a bulletproof vest, so what? They're still little girls."
Cohen is survived by her parents, a brother and a sister.
Approximately 2,000 Border Police officers have been participating in routine security operations in Jerusalem over the past few months. Some are providing additional security downtown, at government buildings, shopping malls and other areas that might be prone to a terror attack, but not to the degree that Damascus Gate has been.
Chief Supt. Shlomi Yosef, the commander of the two women, defended the decision to deploy them at Damascus Gate, saying that Cohen and her fellow officer were serving alongside a veteran leader, a seasoned combat veteran who is familiar with the area. "They are skilled and trained to deal with these types of incidents and they responded as was expected of them, with determination and heroism,” he said.
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