Palestinian Truck Attack Kills 4 in Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, this afternoon (Sunday, 8 January 2017), visited the site of the terrorist attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv and were briefed by Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy.  

Prime Minister Netanyahu:  

“We in Jerusalem have just experience an unprovoked terrorist attack, a murderous attack that claimed the lives of four young Israelis and wounded others. This is part of the same pattern inspired by Islamic State, by ISIS, that we saw first in France, then in Germany and now in Jerusalem. This is part of the same ongoing battle against this global scourge of the new terrorism. We can only fight it together, but we have to fight it, and we will.”

In part from Reuters: A Palestinian rammed his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers on a popular promenade in Jerusalem on Sunday, killing four of them in an attack which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said had likely been inspired by Islamic State.

It was the deadliest Palestinian attack in Jerusalem in months and targeted officer cadets as they disembarked from a bus that brought them to the Armon Hanatziv promenade which has a panoramic view of the walled Old City.

The military said an officer and three officer cadets were killed and that 17 others were injured. Police said three of the dead were women.

Police identified the truck driver as a Palestinian from Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem and said he was shot dead. His uncle, Abu Ali, named him as Fadi Ahmad Hamdan Qunbor, 28, a father of four from the Jabel Mukabar neighborhood.

The Israeli military regularly takes soldiers on educational tours of Jerusalem, including the Armon Hanatziv vantage point.

Netanyahu visited the scene and said he convened a forum of senior ministers to discuss Israel’s response.

“We know the identity of the attacker. According to all the signs he is a supporter of Islamic State,” the prime minister said.

Roni Alsheich, the national police chief, told reporters he could not rule out that the driver had been motivated by a truck ramming attack in a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people last month.

In another attack claimed by Islamic State in which a truck was used to ram into crowds, nearly 90 people were killed in the French city of Nice in July.

Actions inspired by Islamic State in Israel, the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem have been rare and only a few dozen Arab Israelis and Palestinians are known to have declared their sympathy with the group.

A wave of Palestinian street attacks, including vehicle rammings, has largely slowed but not stopped completely since it began in October 2015 and 37 Israelis and two visiting Americans have been killed in these assaults. More here from Reuters.


REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

AP: The attacker came from the east Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, near the attack site. Police barred publication of his name.

Neighbors said he espoused an ultra-conservative version of Islam, known as Salafism, but that he did not have a known affiliation with any Palestinian political faction. Salafism is split into peaceful and violent streams, with the latter promoting ideas that are close to those of IS.

Netanyahu said Israel had blockaded Jabel Mukaber and was planning other steps, but did not elaborate. He said the dead were all soldiers — three women and a man. The Israeli military said three were cadets and one was an officer.

Israel’s national rescue service said one of the wounded was in serious condition. More here from Associated Press.


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Denise Simon