In an apparent terrorist attack, four people are reported dead and several others injured after a truck rammed into a group of soldiers in Jerusalem. According to the Times of Israel, the incident happened earlier today near Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. Initial reports confirmed the death of four soldiers, three of them women. Several others were injured. All the four people who were confirmed dead in the incident were in their 20s. Among the people admitted to hospitals, the condition of one individual is said to be critical. Four others were reported to be in a stable condition while ten others were treated for minor injuries. The driver of the truck was shot dead.
Initially, police officials did not reveal the identity of the attacker. Israel Police chief Roni Alsheich initially issued a statement in which he confirmed that there was no warning before the attack took place and there was no way to prevent it from happening. He also confirmed that the attacker sought a high victim count and that he had circled the area several times to choose a crowded area. The truck driver was later identified by Palestinian media as Fadi al-Qanbar, who is a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukabar. Hamas supporters have following the incident praised the attack. A Facebook post by Hazzem Qassem, the spokesperson for Hamas, read as follows.
“The continuous operations in the West Bank and Jerusalem prove that the Jerusalem Intifada is not an isolated event, but rather a decision by the Palestinian people to revolt until it attains its freedom and liberation from the Israeli occupation. These operations demonstrate that all attempts to bypass the resistance or to thwart it will fail every time.”
Vehicular attack in Jerusalem wounds at least 10, according to Magen David Adom of Israel's emergency services. https://t.co/YiUepD1BLx— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 8, 2017
Meanwhile, a release by Hamas’s Qassam Brigades confirmed that Fadi al-Qanbar was a released prisoner. He was also referred to as a “mujahid” – or a jihadi fighter by Hamas.
Another Hamas spokesperson Abdul-Latif Qanou called the attack a “heroic act” and encouraged other Palestinians to “Escalate the resistance.”
Hours after the incident, the Jerusalem truck attack video was uploaded to YouTube. In the video embedded below, it is clearly seen how the attacker targets the group of soldiers standing on the roadside. A bus driver who saw the attack said the driver’s intent to kill was evident after he tried to reverse the truck and kill even more people after the first wave of attack.
Following the incident, the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, issued a statement in which he condemned the attack and warned that the perpetrators would pay a heavy price. The statement read as follows.
“Those who incite and inflame and those who support terror must pay a heavy price. I call on all the residents of Jerusalem and the country to continue their lives as usual and to not let terror win.”
A statement was also issued by Israeli deputy foreign minister Minister Tzipi Hotovely who termed that the attack was aimed at disrupting the Paris peace conference set to begin next week.
“The world has received a clear answer from the Palestinians to the peace conference coming up in Paris: More terror. I again call on the international community to demand an end to terror and the industry of education toward it,” his statement read.
Meanwhile, some people have criticized the manner in which mainstream news outlets have reported the incident. The BBC, for example, did not refer the perpetrator of the attack a “terrorist” or even an attacker and only chose to call him a “driver”. A visibly upset Israel Education Minister Naftali Bennett posted a screenshot of the BBC story.
Yup, BBC. Driver--not terrorist--shot.— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) January 8, 2017
He only "allegedly" murdered 4 Israelis. pic.twitter.com/eLdgZO66e0
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the scene of the attacked a few minutes ago. An emergency meeting of the Israeli Cabinet was also called after the attack took place.
[Featured Image by AP Images]