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.
The 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," he said.
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.
Meanwhile, 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 Palestinian militants.