Three dead in terror attack
The city of Jerusalem was left in shock today after an Arab construction worker killed three people and wounded over 50 others when he drove his bulldozer on a trail of destruction down the capital's main Jaffa street.
After toppling two buses and slamming into several cars, the attack ended when an off duty Israeli soldier Moshe Klessner grabbed a gun from a policeman on the scene, jumped into the cabin of the vehicle, and shot the attacker Jabr Duwait dead.
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It was the second terrorist attack to hit Jerusalem in under four months, following the shooting at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in March.
Like Alaa Abu Dhein, the gunman who killed eight students in Mercaz Harav, the bulldozer attacker, was also from the East Jerusalem village of Tzur Baher, located close to the neighbourhood of Armon Hanatziv.
Duwait, a 32-year-old father-of-two, was working on the construction of the Jerusalem light railway at the northern end of Jaffa Street opposite the Jerusalem Capital Studios building and a minute from the Jerusalem central bus station before he turned his bulldozer into a weapon of murder.
David Aslan, who works in an electrical appliances shop on Jaffa Street, saw the events unfold. “I was working in the shop when I saw through the window that lots of people were running. So I immediately went outside to see what was going on.” Aslan told the Jewish News as he stood watching a police bulldozer move one of the crushed cars from the scene two hours after the attack .
“I saw a bulldozer driving into cars and people on the street. As it passed the shop it drove straight into a taxi. Then I saw the guy jump in and shoot the attacker.
“The whole thing happened very quickly. It was all over in about two minutes.” Aslan added. “When I saw the people running I knew it must be a terrorist attack. I was surprised it couldn't have been stopped earlier.”
Summing up the feelings of many in Jerusalem, Aslan said he believes it is a mistake for companies to employ Arabs, “We need to stop this. We should only use Jewish workers.”
By around 2.30pm, hundreds of people, mostly local Ultra Orthodox yeshiva students, had gathered around the scene of the attack. As a security officer drove the bulldozer away onlookers pushed to get a glimpse of the offending vehicle which still had large bloodstains down its side and bullet holes in the cabin.
While no Palestinian group immediately took responsibility for the attack, Hamas and Islamic Jihad both called it "a natural reaction to Israeli aggression."
The attack was condemned by Israeli politicians with Defence Minister Ehud Barak reportedly calling for the Duwait's home to be destroyed, unlike that of Dhein which was left standing.
Palestinian negotiator and aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Saeb Erekat also condemned the attack, which took place as Israel continued to open borders into the Gaza Strip and allow supplies in following the cease-fire which has been broken by Kassam rocket fire into Israel on a number of occasions this week.
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks expressed the British Jewish community’s condolences in a letter to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski yesterday. He said: “Israel cannot be defeated by the violence of terror and will always stand strong in the face of brutality. At these difficult and testing times, Israel is not alone. Wherever it operates, terrorism shows the same disregard for human life, contempt for freedom and disdain for tolerance.”
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