JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - A truck driven by a Palestinian rammed into pedestrians on a popular promenade in Jerusalem on Sunday (Jan 8) killing four people, according to Israeli police who called it a deliberate attack.
“It is a terrorist attack, a ramming attack,” a police spokesman said on Israel Radio.
Police said the dead, three women and one man, were all in their twenties.
An Israeli bus driver who witnessed the incident said on the radio the truck ploughed into a group of soldiers, and that they fired on the driver, who reversed direction and ran over them again. “They shot him, until they neutralised him,” said the bus driver, who gave his name only as Moshe.
Ms Leah Schreiber was leading a group of new soldiers on an orientation tour, taking them to a promenade overlooking the city when the attack happened. “I was with a group of soldiers when a terrorist attacker drove into the soldiers,” she was quoted as saying by Guardian. “People shouted ‘What’s happening’ and he reversed the truck.”
Israeli TV stations said the driver was killed, and footage showed bullet holes in the truck’s windscreen. Israeli television stations said at least four people were killed and that some 15 wounded were strewn on the street at the Armon Hanatziv promenade overlooking the walled Old City of Jerusalem.
Israel Radio reported the driver was a Palestinian but did not immediately give his name. A wave of Palestinian street attacks, including vehicle rammings, has largely slowed but not stopped completely since it began in October 2015.
The attack comes weeks after 12 people where killed in a similar attack in Berlin. In the Berlin attack, a Tunisian man, Anis Amri, ploughed a truck into a Christmas market on Dec 19. He was shot dead in Italy four days after the attack. Reports said he had lived under 14 aliases and was so well known to German officials that a key counter-terrorism committee discussed his case seven times.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group had claimed responsibility for the Berlin attack and released a video in which Amri was shown pledging allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.