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Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Sixteen wounded in copycat bulldozer attack in Jerusalem
Sixteen people were wounded, one of them moderately, as a bulldozer driver went on a rampage in central Jerusalem Tuesday afternoon in an apparent attempt to recreate the terror attack in the capital earlier this month.

The vehicle reportedly left a construction site near the Yemin Moshe neighborhood and set off towards Liberty Bell Park (Gan Hapa’amon), near the corner of Keren Hayesod and King David streets. It drove a distance of approximately 160 meters, attempting to overturn a bus and crashing into four other vehicles – one of which it flipped over. The man was then shot dead by a civilian and a border policeman.

The wounded were evacuated to hospitals in the capital.

The perpetrator of the attack, Ghassan Abu Tir, was a relative of Muhammad Abu Tir, a Hamas parliamentarian jailed in Israel.

The first man to respond to the attack was Yaakov [Yaki] Asa-El, whose brother Amotz is a Jerusalem Post columnist. Asa-El, 53, a father of nine living near Mount Hebron.

Asa-El fired the first shot at Abu Tir, and then the border policeman arrived and fired at the attacker from both sides of the bulldozer.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police sealed off possible escape routes into east Jerusalem, and were searching for two suspects who fled the scene.

The attack took place in a busy part of downtown Jerusalem, several hundred meters from the luxury hotel where US presidential candidate Barack Obama is supposed to stay Tuesday night as he kicks off a visit to Israel.

The bus that was hit, No. 13, belonged to the same line of the bus that was overturned in the previous attack.

“I was driving on the main road when the (construction vehicle) hit me in the rear, on the right hand side,” the bus driver, who was not identified, told Channel 10 TV.

“After I passed him he turned round, made a U-turn and rammed the windows twice with the shovel. The third time he aimed for my head, he came up to my window and I swerved to the right, otherwise I would have gone to meet my maker,” he said.

Witness Moshe Shimshi said that the bulldozer driver, who was wearing a large, white skullcap commonly worn by religious Muslims, slammed into the side of the bus, then sped away and went for a car.

“He didn’t yell anything, he just kept ramming into cars,” Shimshi said.

The driver then headed for cars waiting at a red light “and rammed into them with all his might,” he added.

Channel 10 TV said a mother and her baby were wounded. Israeli rescue services said they had evacuated one person whose leg was partially severed; Israel media said he was in the car that was overturned.

“This was another attempt to murder innocent people in a senseless act of terrorism,” said government spokesman Mark Regev. “All people who believe in peace and reconciliation must unequivocally condemn this attack. Unfortunately, it is clear that we as a society will have to remain vigilant against terrorism.”

Minutes after the attack, the driver, wearing shorts and black shoes, was sprawled backward in the construction vehicle’s cabin, his legs dangling lifelessly.

On July 2, a resident of east Jerusalem rammed a bulldozer into cars, buses and pedestrians on one of Jerusalem’s busiest streets, killing three people and wounding at least 45 others – including a six-month-old baby girl – before being shot dead by security personnel.

Etgar Lefkovits contributed to this report
from Jpost.com

king david

I lived in Yemin Moshe. I used to picnic in Liberty Bell Park with my friends. I attended school on King David Street.

This time it feels too close to home…

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