Jerusalem synagogue attack: Joyce Morel, Canadian MD, among 1st responders
Toronto physician in Israel says it was 'upsetting' to see injured people near shul where 4 killed
Dr. Joyce Morel, a physician who emigrated from Canada to Israel with her husband two years ago, was among the first responders to reach the Jerusalem synagogue where two Palestinians killed four worshippers today.
A specialist in family and emergency medicine, Morel was told by phone that an attack was underway.
"I was in my house just getting ready to get on with my day, and I got a call on my radio that there was a shooting incident and seriously injured people a few minutes drive from my house," the former Toronto resident told CBC News in an interview from Jerusalem.
Canada and the U.S. were among countries that quickly condemned the attack Tuesday that involved two cousins, who stormed the synagogue, and attacked worshippers with meat cleavers and a gun during morning prayers before they were shot dead by police.
Morel was described by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz as an ultra-Orthodox physician who lives in the Har Nof area of the city. She works with United Hatzalah, an Israeli volunteer emergency medical service.
"I got to the synagogue fairly early on, parked right in front, and there was a gentleman there who was pretty seriously injured, but conscious and talking, bleeding from his head," she said.
'Get away, get away'
As she was treating the man with head injuries outside the synagogue, Morel told Haaretz she could hear shooting inside.
"[Then] the police came running out of the synagogue and said, 'There's a shooting going on, get away, get away.'"
She told CBC she took the injured man down the street to be out of the line of fire.
"They bought some other injured people from the synagogue to that area, and we were treating them," she said.
I'm proud to be a Canadian. But this is now my country, these are now my brothers and sisters.- Dr. Joyce Morel
"The first man that I saw was wounded in his head. I'm not exactly sure how. When we lifted up his shirt, he had a six- or seven-inch stab wound to his back, right through his ribs. … But thank God, he was still talking and conscious and able to breathe."
Morel said that at the time of the attack, people were in the middle of their morning prayers. The first alert came in soon after 7 a.m. local time.
"One doesn't think terrorists will be coming in and murdering people in the middle of their prayers," the former Toronto doctor said.
"I'm a Canadian. I'm proud to be a Canadian. But this is now my country, these are now my brothers and sisters, and I feel it's a real privilege and an honour to be here helping everybody."