At least four people were killed and about 40 others injured when a
Palestinian bulldozer driver went on a deadly rampage in downtown
Jerusalem. The man was killed by an off-duty soldier and police say
the incident was a terrorist attack. VOA's Jim Teeple reports from
Witnesses reported a scene of chaos and panic as
the bulldozer plowed over cars, knocked over a city bus and damaged
buildings on busy Jaffa Road near the city's main bus station.
driver was shot by an off-duty soldier, one of several people who
climbed onto the bulldozer in an effort to stop the rampage. Police
spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told VOA the incident was clearly a
terrorist attack and the bulldozer driver was heading for Jerusalem's
main food market.
"Police officers arrived on the scene and
attempted to stop the killings," he said. "We clearly understood that
it was a terrorist attack by the way that he continued to try and make
his way to the market, and therefore it was critical to stop him from
continuing in the direction of the market."
Rosenfeld says the
man driving the bulldozer was a Palestinian with an East Jerusalem
identity card. The area where the incident took place is a
construction site with a new light rail system and road widening
projects under way. Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have
access to Jewish West Jerusalem and carry out nearly all construction
work in the city.
This was the second terrorist attack this
year. In March, an East Jerusalem man attacked a Jewish seminary
killing eight students. Rosenfeld says just like that attack there was
no prior warning.
"There were no specific warnings that an
attack was going to take place, but immediately after this incident the
security level was heightened, both in Jerusalem and in other cities,"
Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants who have carried
out many terrorist attacks inside Israel said they were not responsible
for the bulldozer incident and police say they are trying to determine
if the man acted by himself."
The attack took place as a truce between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip enters its second week.
On Wednesday Israel reopened cargo crossing points into Gaza.
hundreds of Palestinians tried, but failed, to break through the Gaza
crossing point between Egypt and Gaza. The crowd surged past Hamas
guards at the border, but was beaten back by Egyptian troops who used
water cannons to disperse the Palestinians.
Egypt says it will
open the crossing once Hamas and other Palestinian militants agree to
go along with an Egyptian mediated prisoner swap between Israel and
Hamas that would free an Israeli soldier in exchange for hundreds of