x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

New vehicle attack in Jerusalem

In an apparent copy-cat attack, a man drove a bulldozer into a crowd of people in central Jerusalem today.

A handout picture released by Israeli government press office shows the scene of a bulldozer attack in Jerualem's King George Street.
A handout picture released by Israeli government press office shows the scene of a bulldozer attack in Jerualem's King George Street.

Sixteen injured in bulldozer attack A Palestinian bulldozer driver was shot dead in central Jerusalem today after injuring at least 16 people in an attack mimicking one earlier in the month, Israeli police and rescue services said. Aharon Franco, Jerusalem's police chief said "the terrorist was neutralised very quickly" and police were working to reopen the street to traffic. On July 2, a Palestinian in Jerusalem killed three people and wounded 30 others when he rammed a bulldozer into a bus and cars on a busy street before being shot dead. Mr Franco said said the assailant attacked a bus, failing to overturn it, but smashing its windows. "The bulldozer then rammed five cars and damaged them. A civilian tried to stop him when a border guard arrived and neutralised him." In the July 2 incident, the attacker succeeded in flipping a bus, decapitating the driver in the process. Kenny Leiner, 67, a New Yorker living in Jerusalem, said he was eating at a restaurant when "we heard a boom and the waiter alerted us that it was a terrorist attack. "I started to run after the truck. I thought maybe I could do something. I saw the driver going boom in a car, boom in a second car. Then the police started to shoot at him. I feel horrible." Yohanan Levine, 16, said, "I was going home when I saw the tractor going into a bus four or five times. All the windows of the bus exploded. "Then I saw the tractor going down the street pushing cars. After two minutes I heard two or three gunshots." Today's incident took place near the landmark King David Hotel, which regularly hosts the rich and famous. The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, stayed there on his visit to Jerusalem earlier this week. It also came a day before US presidential candidate Barack Obama is due in town on the latest leg of a tour of the Middle East and Europe. The attacker was named as Ghassan Abu Tir, 22, from Umm Tuba, a district of occupied east Jerusalem. There was no immediate indication of what his motives were. In the July 2 incident, the perpetrator was a 30-year-old east Jerusalem man who worked for an Israeli company at a nearby construction site. In that case, all indications were that what Israel called a terrorist attack was a spontaneous incident carried out by a father of two with a criminal past but no known links to armed groups. The Mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski, commenting on the latest attack, remarked: "Once more it is a resident of east Jerusalem. We close the door and they come in through the window." That was presumably a reference to the security barrier Israel has been building to cut itself off from the West Bank. However, occupied east Jerusalem is on the Israeli side of the wall. The Palestinian movement Hamas, which rules the besieged Gaza Strip called that attack "the natural result of continuing Israeli aggression and crimes against our people in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem." Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in November after a seven-year hiatus but have made little progress. At least 524 people have been killed since the negotiations resumed, mostly militants in the besieged Gaza Strip, according to an AFP count. *AFP