Pedestrian killed in excavator terror attack in Jerusalem

Bus in Jerusalem after it was overturned by a tractor in an apparent terror attack (screen capture: Channel 2)

Bus in Jerusalem after it was overturned by a tractor in an apparent terror attack                                          (screen capture: Channel 2)

Palestinian driver shot to death by police; 7 victims lightly wounded

(SOURCE)   A tractor driven by a Palestinian man rammed into a bus in central Jerusalem early Monday afternoon, close to the “seam” between the western and eastern parts of the city.

A male pedestrian approximately 30 years old was run over by the tractor as it headed toward the bus and was killed. The tractor driver, identified as East Jerusalem resident Muhammed Naif El-Ja’abis, turned the bus over onto its side during the attack, making several efforts to do so before he succeeded. The bus driver as well as five others were lightly hurt.

Police said the attack, which took place at the end of Shmuel Hanavi Street, near the Olive Tree Hotel, was nationalistically motivated.

A police officer and Prisons Service official who realized what was happening ran up to the tractor and fired a volley of shots at the terrorist as he sat in the cab and killed him, Jerusalem police chief Yossi Pariente said.

The tractor driver was identified by Palestinians on social media as Ja’abis from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said the terrorist was known to the authorities from a previous incident, and that his family was being questioned.

Security officials told Channel 2 news that Ja’abis may have carried out the attack for revenge after his cousin’s home was demolished two weeks ago.

Praising the actions of the police, he said, “The quick response saved lives.” Aharonovitch added that officials had considered the possibility that there could be an attack against the background of the ongoing Israeli military campaign against Hamas in Gaza. “We took that into account at the start of the operation down south,” he said.

An amateur cellphone video of the incident showed that after knocking the bus over on its side the tractor driver tried to continue attacking the vehicle by swinging the mechanical digging arm into it.

Warning!  Video contains graphic violence

The attacker worked at a building site nearby, Pariente said. He said three of those lightly injured were on the bus. He said the quick action of those who shot the attacker “averted a much more serious incident.”

The bus was an Illit company vehicle, which ferries passengers from Jerusalem to the settlement of Beitar Illit 10 kilometers south of the city.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat praised the police officers who prevented the attack. At the same time, he urged Jerusalemites, “Do not take the law into your own hands” — a warning against revenge attacks.

“It could have been a terrible disaster if not for the resourcefulness” of the security forces who shot the attacker dead, Barkat said.

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