A construction tractor in Jerusalem overturned a bus and a car in Jerusalem Monday afternoon in what is being called a terror attack.
The tractor, which was driven by a Palestinian terrorist, slammed into the bus around 1:40 pm. Thankfully, the bus was empty at the time but the driver was lightly injured when the bus overturned.
Six pedestrians who were standing near the bus were injured in the attack. One of the pedestrians, 30, who was critically injured, has died.
According to initial reports, the pedestrian was crushed by the tractor as it approached the bus.
The terrorist was shot dead by police after hitting the bus and the car. He has been identified by Palestinians on social media as Muhammed Naif El-Ja’abis from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.
According to Magen David Adom, Israel’s paramedic service, they received a call around 1:35 pm that a tractor was on the rampage, hitting pedestrians and then an empty bus.
Emergency personnel treated a 25-year-old man and the 45-year-old bus driver at the scene.
Police are now investigating the family of Ja’abis for possible connections to terror.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said in an interview with Channel 2 from the scene that police have been on high alert since the start of the war in Gaza for a possible attack using a tractor.
“From the day when the fighting started in the south, we knew we might see an incident like this of terrorism,” he said.
“Two policemen from Police Headquarters and a policeman who was on a motorcycle nearby responded. They reacted quickly, charged, killed him. That’s the response I expect from officers of the Israel police,” Aharonovitch said.
“Their fast response save lives,” he added.
Aharonovitch said that “the entire family is being investigated. We’re going to find out if this was done independently, or if he’s part of a network. We have to check everything about him. It’s all being checked now.”
This is not the first time vehicles have been used by terrorists to carry out an attack. In the summer of 2008, construction tractors were used, within the span of three weeks, to carry out two separate attacks.
In 2009, a terrorist used a tractor to plow into a police car in Jerusalem while also trying to hit a nearby bus. Two police officers were injured in the attack and the terrorist was shot dead.
In October 2013, a Palestinian man was shot dead after he attempted to ram the main gate of an army base north of Jerusalem using a tractor.