September 22, 2008
Arab attacker strikes in Jerusalem; dozen injured, terrorist killed
JERUSALEM (JTA)—An Arab assailant plowed a vehicle into a crowd of Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem before being shot dead.
Two soldiers were moderately injured and more than a dozen others suffered slight injuries. The driver was killed by a soldier at the scene.
The soldiers, who were on a tour of the Old City, were struck at a crowded intersection near the Jaffa Gate by an Arab from eastern Jerusalem driving a black BMW, according to reports.
The attack marked the third time in recent months that an Arab from eastern Jerusalem has used a vehicle to perpetrate an attack in Jerusalem. In the other two cases, one of which resulted in the deaths of Israeli civilians, the assailants used construction vehicles.
Here’s the AP report:
JERUSALEM (AP)—A driver plowed a BMW into a group of soldiers at a busy intersection near Jerusalem’s Old City late Monday, injuring 13 of them before he was shot to death, Israeli police and the rescue service said.
Jerusalem police commander Ilan Franco said a soldier in the group killed the driver.
The driver was not immediately identified, but Franco said he was a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem who apparently acted alone. Israel TV said the car was registered to a resident of Jabel Mukaber, an Arab village inside the city limits.
It was the third incident in Jerusalem in which vehicles apparently have been used as weapons in recent months. In July, two Palestinians living in Jerusalem carried out separate attacks using heavy construction machinery that killed three people and injured several others. Both attackers were fatally shot by police and soldiers.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak released a statement demanding a speedup of procedures to allow the destruction of homes of Palestinian attackers ‘‘to contribute to deterring potential terrorists.’’ Several years ago, an Israeli Supreme Court justice ruled that destroying houses does not deter attackers and the practice was halted.
Ambulances and police units raced to the scene Monday night after the crash about 11 p.m. and quickly carried away the injured.
Police said two of the 13 injured were in serious condition while the others suffered light wounds. Doctors at the hospitals said all were conscious and were being treated.
Israel Radio said the soldiers, from the Artillery Corps, were on a tour of Jerusalem ahead of the Jewish New Year holiday next week.
An Israel Radio reporter described a large group of Jews, most of them ultra-Orthodox, chasing an Arab into the nearby Old City after the incident.
Police said the car rammed into the soldiers waiting at the intersection. Witnesses said the car ended up on the sidewalk near the intersection, which lies along the line between the Jewish and Arab sections of Jerusalem.
Since Israel captured the Arab section of the city in 1967, there are no barriers between the two sides.
Palestinians demand the Arab portion as the capital of the independent state they want to create.
Israel united the city under its rule weeks after the 1967 war, but in recent years some officials have shown a willingness to cede Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinians. However, sharing the city and its holy sites remains one of the toughest issues in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.