Israeli sources reported on Tuesday that twenty-four Israelis were wounded after being attacked by a bulldozer driven by a Palestinian from the Old city of Jerusalem. The attacker was shot dead by an Israeli security personnel at the scene.
The attacker was identified as Hassan Abu Teir 22, a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem. Israeli police sealed off the roads entering and exiting the predominantly Palestinian parts of East Jerusalem. Abu Teir was not known to be affiliated with any Palestinian resistance group.
The attack took place near the King David hotel where the U.S. Democrate presidential candidate Barack Obama will be staying during his short visit to the region. Obama arrives in Israel later today.
The attacker struck the side of a bus with the bulldozer shovel and went on to attack other vehicles in the area.
Avi Levi, the driver of the bus that was hit, stated that the he was driving on the main road when his bus was hit by a construction vehicle in the rear, on the right hand side, Haaretz reported.
The bus driver said that he was chased by the assailant, who raised the shovel of his front-end loader.
The attacker then made a U-turn and rammed the windows of the bus twice with the bulldozer shovel.
An Eyewitness said that the attacker was wearing a white skullcap, and that the attacker did not say anything when he carried out the attack, but only “kept on ramming into other cars waiting at the traffic light”.
Israeli medical sources reported that one of the wounded is in serious condition, while the rest suffered mild injuries. All were taken to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, stated that police sealed off all roads leading to the Arab section of Jerusalem and started searching for the two other suspects who are believed to be involved in the attack.
Rosenfeld added that the bulldozer driver took the bulldozer from a construction site and first struck two cars.
Eyewitnesses reported that the attacker was shot in the head by a settler from Susya settlement, and a few minutes later he was shot by a border police officer.
Tuesdys bulldozer attack is considered by some local observers as a copycat to previous attack carried out on July 2, in which a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem hit a number of cars and a bus killing three and wounfing some others. Reports revealed conflicting information related to the attack. While Israeli security sources immediately classified the attack as "terrorist" carried out on national basis, other sources said the attacker was motivated by a serious dispute with his Israeli employer.
The settler who shot the attacker was identified as Ya'akov Asahel, 53, from the illegal West Bank Israeli settlement of Susya.
Asahel is also a platoon commander with the Israeli Armored Corps. He also works as a religious instructor at the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba’, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
Following the attack, the Jerusalem District Commander, Aharon Franco, issued orders to the police to closely monitor all Arab workers who live in East Jerusalem.
Also, senior police commanders in Jerusalem decided to undertake several strict measures and closely patrol and observe construction sites in Jerusalem. They stated that they will be in touch with construction managers in the city regarding “unusual incidents or employees who have criminal records”, Israeli Ynet News reported.