An Arab terrorist from eastern Jerusalem ran over a group of soldiers and some civilians shortly before 11 p.m. Monday night at Kikar Tzahal (IDF Square) near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. The terrorist was driving a private vehicle, a black BMW, when he attacked opposite the entrance to the Old City. He was shot and killed by an IDF soldier in the targeted group.
One of the victims is in serious condition, and all of the others suffered light and moderate injuries. Most of the wounded were evacuated to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, and seven other victims were rushed to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital. The victims were primarily soldiers who had gone to the Old City to participate in the nighttime selichot prayers traditionally recited before Rosh Hashanah.
Shortly after the attack, a group of young hareidi-religious Jews gathered in a spontaneous protest near the scene of the incident. Protesters threw rocks and cursed at Arab passersby, calling out condemnations of the Arab presence in Jerusalem. The small mob was dispersed within a short time.
The terrorist was under 20 years of age and a resident of Jerusalem. Initial police investigation of the incident revealed that he carried out the attack alone. However, security forces are following all leads that may indicate a connection with Palestinian Authority terrorist organizations.
Two earlier terrorist attacks in the capital this year involved a tractor and bulldozer, killing three Israelis and injuring scores of others. Both of the terrorists were Israeli Arabs from eastern Jerusalem who were working in the city.
Asked by a reporter how the police is handling the threat of such vehicle-based attacks, Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franco said, "Jerusalem police are widely deployed throughout the [Muslim] month of Ramadan - an attack such as this can happen anywhere - so that we can respond quickly."