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Terrorist rampages with tractor in center of Jerusalem kills three wounds 66 - Clerics told killer to act

July 2, 2008

Terrorist Bulldozer Rampages in Jerusalem, Murders Three

by Hillel Fendel

( An Arab terrorist from eastern Jerusalem sped with a bulldozer down Jerusalem's busiest street just before noon Wednesday, ramming buses and crushing cars. At least three people were murdered in the unprecedented attack.

Two policemen caught up with the tractor and climbed inside, after a policewoman shot the driver but did not kill him. They first struggled with the terrorist-driver, and the driver stopped - but then abruptly started up again, until he was shot and killed, putting an end to the murderous spree.

Some 45 injuries have been reported, including at least three dead and two in moderate or serious condition. Two bodies were extricated from the wrecked cars, and one woman died of her wounds on the way to the hospital. Most of the bus passengers are reported to have suffered only light injuries, though at least one - an infant - is in serious condition.

An eyewitness said that he saw the bulldozer ram the bus several times, and then continue on in his attempt to run down passersby and cars. "Some cars were able to get away, but at least one was not, and he rammed his shovel right into the windshield," the man said.

The terrorist is a 30-year-old father of two from the Arab neighborhood of Tzur Baher in eastern Jerusalem - the same neighborhood in which the perpetrator of the Merkaz HaRav slaughter lived.

As of 2 PM, a baby in light condition was in Shaarei Tzedek Hospital - but its parents have not yet been located. The parents of another baby were found somewhat earlier.

Magen David Adom sources confirm that the incident, which began at the intersection of Jaffa and Sarei Yisrael Streets, was a terror attack. The Arab tractor driver crushed or damaged at least six cars and two buses. One Toyota car, for instance, is totally crushed; the woman driver was killed.

An emergency situation was declared in the capital.

Construction work on the new light-railway is taking place in the area, and Arab workers, including tractor drivers, are a familiar sight on the scene.

The overturned bus lay on its side on the sidewalk outside the old Shaarei Tzedek building, which are the current offices and studios of the Israel Broadcasting Authority. Several reporters were eyewitnesses to the attack.

Israel News photos: Moti Boksin, Zaka organization

The security services are investigating whether the terrorist was acting alone and without backing from a known terrorist organization, as was apparently the case this past March, when an eastern Jerusalem terrorist murdered seven students in Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav.


Joy in Terrorist's Neighborhood

( Dozens of Arabs from Tzur Baher began shouting joyfully when news came of the terror attack by one of their neighbors Wednesday, HNN reported.

The terrorist's family members gathered in his house. One of the women of the family ululated with joy from a balcony, according to Nfc.


Muslim Clerics Told Tractor Killer to Act"

( Muslim clerics visited the home of the tractor terrorist in the weeks before the attack and convinced him to carry out a "heroic act," according to Yechiel Leiter, a researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Policy Studies.

In an exclusive interview with Israel National News, Leiter said that he learned from "very reliable sources" that the Muslim clerics visited the terrorist's home in the weeks before the attack "on a daily basis," spoke to him "for hours on end" and convinced that him he needed to carry out "a heroic act to atone for all of his sins."

"This was certainly not a spontaneous act that can justify the Israeli authorities' claims that there was no way to prevent such an attack," Leiter said.

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