In the second such attack in as many weeks, a car driven by a Palestinian terrorist ploughed into a group of passengers waiting for a train along the Jerusalem Light Rail.
One person was killed and more than 10 others were injured in the attack. Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics said that one of the injured, a man in his 30’s, is in critical condition and had to undergo resuscitation at the scene. Two others remain in serious condition and another two are in moderate condition. All others suffered light injuries.
MDA paramedics treated the injured on site and evacuated them to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. The person who was killed was later identified as a Border Police officer.
The attack occurred at the Shimon Hatzadik Light Rail stop. The driver, a Hamas member from East Jerusalem identified as Ibrahim al-Akari, drove his vehicle into a group of pedestrians in two separate areas of the street before ramming his car into a bicycle rider and then finally into another oncoming vehicle.
After al-Akari’s car stopped as a result of the impact, he exited the vehicle and began attacking passersby with a metal pole. Nearby Border Police quickly shot and killed him.
Hamas quickly praised the attack and said, “we are eagerly awaiting more such attacks.” The terror group claimed responsibility and called for the beginning of a third intifada.
Knesset members reacted very strongly to the news. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the attack, saying that his recent and continuous incitement is the real cause of terror.
“Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] is the driver behind the wheel, the terrorists are just his messengers,” Bennett said in a statement.
Bennett also join the myriad of voices calling on the government to take a stronger hand against Palestinian rioters and terrorists rampaging the capital city. “The government of Israel needs to state clearly that the joint government of Fatah and Hamas is a terror organization, and Israel needs to act accordingly.”
“There is no Iron Dome against cars,” he continued. “The security of the citizens of Jerusalem is not a luxury.”
MK Miri Regev (Likud) thanked the security forces for the quick response in eliminating the terrorist and commented on the recent decision to by the Knesset take legal action against stone throwers.
“There is no doubt that the current security situation in Jerusalem requires the Police and security forces to take a strong stance and react with a heavy hand against terrorists, and insurgents. I am certain that the recent decisions to increase police presence in the city as well as the decision to take harsher legal action against insurgents will bring about the desired results,” she said.
Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) called the situation in the capital “out of control.”She called for renewed vigilance and stronger action against terrorism, especially the most recent and increasing incidents of terror on the Temple Mount.
“A government that abandons rule over the Temple Mount allows terror to rear its ugly head in the capital. Jerusalem is under attack and simply attempting to calm tensions only shows weakness,” she said.
Deputy Minister of Education Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home Party) said that Israel needs to get a handle on the situation before it blows up into a full fledged intifada. “It is the responsibility of the Minister of Internal Security (Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Yisrael Beiteinu) to take firm action to end the intifada that has begun in Jerusalem.”
Wednesday’s copycat attack took place exactly one week after the assassination attempt on Yehuda Glick, a teacher, rabbi and prominent Temple Mount activist fighting for the right to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.
In an ironic turn of events, approximately five minutes before the attack occurred, the PA announced that they will appeal to the UN Security Council regarding what they call “the intensification of violence” by the Israeli Police on the Temple Mount.
The PA President’s office made the following statement: “The Israeli government is continuing in its systematic attempts to bring harm to the the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and is pushing settlers to enter into the mosque. This goes against all norms and international consensus and desires to escalate conflict so that they can divide the mosque. We have repeatedly warned that this is a red-line and we are going to make a lot of noise about it.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the attack and stated: “Today is tragic day for Jerusalem. Israel needs to respond with a strong hand in order to win this war against terror and rioters.”