In the first incident of its kind this year, a bulldozer driver sped down a busy Jerusalem street on Thursday afternoon near the city’s largest mall and rammed a police car, sending it sailing into the air and flipping over twice with two officers inside.
The incident comes the day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the country speaking with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders about preconditions for a peace agreement.
The bulldozer driver, who had an open Koran in the vehicle according to police, was shot by police officer who had just arrived at the scene. He later died in the hospital. The two officers were slightly wounded, according to a police spokesman.
“We’re 100 percent sure it was an intended terror attack carried out by an Arab or a Palestinian from East Jerusalem based on what we found at the scene and the life-threatening situation it was,” Israel Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tells Newsmax.
The driver had no identification on him so police weren’t certain if he was a Jerusalem resident or a resident of the Palestinian territories with a work permit for Jerusalem. No one claimed responsibility for the attack. Rosenfeld said police were investigating which nearby construction site he was working at the time.
The attack, the first this year in Jerusalem, underscored the fragile relations in the mixed Israeli capital where Arabs and Jews mingle on the job and socially. This was the fourth bulldozer attack in the last year.
Rosenfeld said police had no specific warning or information about an impending terror attack, but since the country’s security forces have gone on high alert now especially ahead of next week’s Purim holiday.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat arrived on the scene shortly after the attack. This is the first attack in the city since he was elected.
“The attack targeted us for no reason other than the fact that we live in Jerusalem. This was an attack carried out exclusively for the purpose of harming civilians,” he said.
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