Tzur Baher, also known as Har Homa
Tzur Baher, also known as Har HomaIsrael News Photo: (Flash 90 / archive)

An Arab terrorist attempted on Tuesday afternoon to attack Israeli forces securing the demolition of the home of Jerusalem’s first bulldozer terrorist.

While police were destroying the building that housed the 30-year-old Tzur Baher (Har Homa) resident who last year murdered three civilians and wounded 45 others, the inhabitant of the nearby Jabel Mukabar neighborhood attempted a similar move with his own vehicle.

The Arab driver, 20-year-old Iyyad Azmi Awisat appeared to be leaving the neighborhood, but then tried to run over a group of Border Police officers who were stationed by a square at a security post, where they were inspecting cars and people entering the area.

The officers, realizing they were being targeted, tried to flee. Three officers suffered light leg wounds and were evacuated to Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in the capital.

The commander of the Border Police unit fired at the vehicle, while additional security forces fired from an adjacent wall, mortally wounding the terrorist driver. He died a short while later.

Additional police forces have been called to the scene. Demolition of the previous terrorist’s home proceeded without interruption.

Rioting in Tzur Baher

Neighborhood residents started throwing bottles and stones at The Border Police and Israel Police officers following the incident. Police officers worked to disperse the violent crowds with shock grenades.

After the police removed the terrorist’s body from the scene, Tzur Bacher residents shouted out chants of “Allah Hu Akbar” (Arabic for “G-d is Great”). Police officers said some residents clapped and cheered.

As has been the case following each one of the past bulldozer and other vehicle attacks perpetrated by Arab terrorists in the capital, some residents of the neighborhood claimed that the attack was nothing more than a case of the driver losing control of his car. Other residents, however, expressed uncertainly about whether the driver had intentionally directed his car toward the group of Border Police.

Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franco had no doubts, however, about the terrorist's intent: "This was an attack during which the vehicle tried to run over a group of officers," he told reporters. "Three police officers were lightly wounded. The terrorist is a resident of Jabel Mukabar... The police are prepared for disturbances of the peace that may break out," he said, adding, "The police fire was justified."

Tzur Baher mukhtar (village head) Zuhir Hamdan vehemently disagreed with Franco's version of the incident, however, and said police had killed the driver in a "cold-blooded murder." Angrily he told journalists, "It's a lie. They treat us like dogs. Up until now, I have controlled the village. From today, I will no longer do so. The response will be disturbances of the peace."