A three-month-old girl was killed and several others wounded Wednesday evening when a known Palestinian terrorist rammed his vehicle at full speed into a crowd in Jerusalem.
The baby, identified as Chaya Zissel Braun, was laid to rest late Wednesday evening. Among the eight injured were Israeli and US citizens.
The terrorist, Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, 21, hailed from the Silwan neighborhood and was shot by police when he attempted to flee the scene. He later died in the hospital.
Raw footage of the attack
Shaludi is the nephew of Mohiyedine Sharid, the former head of Hamas’s armed wing and chief bomb-maker who was killed in 1988.
Shaludi was reportedly arrested and sentence to 16 months in an Israeli prison in February 2012. He was detained by Israeli security officials earlier this year for a month.
The terror attack, which occurred at the Ammunition Hill light-rail stop, was captured by security cameras. The stop is located in a densely populated travel thoroughfare across from Israel’s national police headquarters.
The incident occurred at approximately 6 pm local time.
Shortly after the attack, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said it is time to “restore peace and security in Jerusalem.”
“As I have said for months, the situation in Jerusalem is intolerable and we must act unequivocally against all violence taking place in the city.”
“Today, more than ever, it is clear that we must send police forces into neighborhoods where there are disturbances, placing them strategically and widely in significant numbers,” he continued.
Barkat confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given the okay to reinforce police in East Jerusalem to “deal with riots, including the addition of personnel and special units, using technological means and increased intelligence.”
The US condemned the terror attacks but urged restraint from both Israel and the Palestinians.
“We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
“We urge all sides to maintain calms and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.”
Saying Goodbye to Chaya Zissel
Hundreds attended the funeral of Chaya Zissel Braun, including Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Barkat. Braun was a dual citizen of Israel and the US.
“The incitement on the Arab street and in the streets of Jerusalem is growing,” Rivlin stated, referring to what some are calling the “silent intifada” currently underway in Jerusalem.
“The incitement that to our sorrow enjoys support from the leadership in the Arab world could cause a disaster in the fragile fabric of life in Jerusalem, and carry us all into a maelstrom of destruction and pain.”
“We are standing before a tiny, silent body, before a small grave, standing against haters and murderers whose hands slaughter without distinction, without mercy,” Rivlin continued. “An innocent baby was butchered by burning hatred and darkness.”
The baby flew ten meters from her stroller after being struck by the car. Medics on scene were able to resuscitate her but Braun died two hours later at the Hadassah-Mount Scopus Hospital.
As if the tragedy of the death of a baby is not enough, Shimon Halperin, the girl’s grandfather, told reporters on Wednesday that the baby’s parents had tried for several years to have a child. He had just recently arrived to Israel from the US to meet his granddaughter for the first time. That day they had taken Braun to the Western Wall for the first time.
“They had just returned from the Kotel [Western Wall]. It was the first time in her life that the girl was at the Kotel. They [her parents] took pictures, they held her up to face the Temple Mount, and they told her this is the holy place, this is the Temple Mount,” he said.
“The parents are traumatized and are trying to digest the news,” Halperin stated. “The doctors did everything they could and I want to thank them.”