A PALESTINIAN rammed his car into a group of Israeli pedestrians near a police station in east Jerusalem yesterday, injuring four officers and a bystander.
He then got out of the car and lunged at security guards with a butcher’s knife before being shot and wounded.
We will not let terror disrupt our daily routineMayor Nir Barkat
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri described the incident as a “terror attack”.
The assailant first ploughed on to the curb next to an Israeli paramilitary border police station in east Jerusalem, hitting three border policewomen and lightly injuring them, Ms Samri said. He then drove forward, hitting another policewoman and an Israeli man.
A border police officer and a security guard fired at the vehicle from the entrance to the station, she added.
The knife-wielding Palestinian then got out of the car and tried to attack the armed guards, she said, who opened fire and seriously wounded him. The injured and the attacker were taken to hospital for treatment.
The attack took place at the same intersection where a Palestinian man ploughed his car into a crowded train platform in November before getting out and attacking people with an iron bar, killing one person and injuring 13 others.
Police identified the attacker in the latest incident as a Palestinian in his twenties from east Jerusalem.
Israeli officers said it was difficult to prevent such attacks, which appear to be carried out by “lone wolf” assailants who were not thought to have been dispatched by any particular militant organisation.
“The swift and determined response stopped the attack as it was beginning and prevented more innocents from being injured,” said regional police commander Moshe Edri.
Israel’s paramilitary border police patrol the area between predominantly Jewish west Jerusalem and the predominantly Arab east Jerusalem.
Police immediately cordoned off the area, and ultra-Orthodox Jewish onlookers gathered at the scene. The front of the car was smashed and the windshield cracked.
Israeli television showed footage of the wounded attacker lying on the ground before being taken to hospital.
The attack came as Israelis celebrate Purim – which marks the deliverance of the Jews from the Persian empire – a carnival-like holiday. Police said it was boosting security throughout the city, and Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said the celebrations would carry on as usual.
“We will not let terror disrupt our daily routine, and we will fight it without compromise,” said Mr Barkat. “I invite all residents of the country to celebrate Purim in Jerusalem and to support it.”
Yesterday’s attack also mirrored a spate of similar assaults on Israelis involving cars late last year, in the same part of Jerusalem, over the city’s most sensitive holy site, revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as Temple Mount.
In October, another Palestinian from east Jerusalem, who had served prison time for militant activities, slammed his car into a train platform in that part of the city, killing a baby girl and a woman.