Jerusalem Terror Attack Leaves 1 Dead and 3 Critically Wounded

Border Patrol officer killed, 13 people wounded when a car hits pedestrians on Shimon Hatzadik Street. Police shoot and kill driver, Ibrahim al-Akri, from Shoafat; Netanyahu to meet on security situation in Jerusalem at 8:30 P.M.

Jadan AssadIsrael Police

A Border Police officer was killed and at least 13 people were wounded in a terror attack on Wednesday, after a commercial vehicle drove into a crowd of people on Shimon Hatzadik Street, near East Jerusalem.

The Border Police officer killed was identified as Jadan Assad from the Druze town of Beit Jann in the Galilee. Assad's funeral will be held Thursday at 1:00 P.M. in his hometown of Beit Jann, where he will be buried in the military section of the local cemetery.

Of the other casualties, three were reported to be in critical condition and four in moderate condition. They include additional Border Police officers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon both held Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responsible for the attack, saying that it was a result of his "incitement." The prime minister was set to hold a security assessment meeting at 8:30 P.M.

Jadan AssadIsrael Police

The driver of the vehicle, Ibrahim al-Akri, was shot and killed by a police officer. 

The police officer who shot the attacker spoke afterward about the incident: "The terrorist opened the door, got out with an iron bar, and started to hit cars and residents. When he saw us he ran toward us, and we shot him to neutralize him. I have no doubt that every fighter would have done the exact same thing."

"That's how we train our fighters and that's how we acted. We lost an officer and a friend; I offer condolences to the family and wish the wounded a speedy recovery," Ynet reported. 

According to the Shin Bet, Akri was a 38-year-old married father of five and a resident of the East Jerusalem suburb of Anata, northeast of Jerusalem’s Old City. The police had insisted on holding his funeral Wednesday night in Anata, near the Shoafat refugee camp. The family objected and petitioned the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court. During the hearing, the parties came to an agreement that the funeral would be held Wednesday night in Jerusalem, near the Lion's Gate, but that only 35 people could attend.

Al-Akri, who is believed to have been a low-ranking Hamas member, is the brother of Musa al-Akri, who was freed as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

The attack occured in two locations. According to rescue unit head Eli Bir, who was one of the first on the scene, the vehicle hit several pedestrians on Highway 1, at a bus stop on the corner of Shimon Hatzadik Street, then continued on to the next junction, at Moshe Zaks Street, where it ploughed into more pedestrians.

The driver then exited the vehicle and began attacking people with a metal rod, before being shot and killed by police.

Later on Wednesday, there were clashes in Shoafat between residents and police, when security forces entered the camp, apparently in order to reach the attacker's house. Residents threw stones and firebombs.

Casualties

The trauma ward at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem received the Border Police officer who later died.

The identity of one victim who was also hospitalized at Hadassah wasn't immediately known. The attacker hit the man as he was riding his bicycle. He is about 20 years old and was not carrying any identifying documents. The Zaka Rescue and Recovery organization has asked the public for help in locating his family. At the time of the attack he was wearing a white shirt and black pants.

Also hospitalized at Hadassah is another casualty in very serious condition. Two people are hospitalized Shaare Zedek Medical Center in serious condition. One of them suffered a life-threatening heart attack during the course of the incident and the other received a blow to his head. An additional person is hospitalized at Shaare Zedek with minor injuries.  

Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Moafak Tarif went to Shaare Zedek Wednesday evening to visit the Druze Border Police officers wounded in the attack. "This is a difficult event for the state and especially for our community, which lost a precious son in the defense of the State of Israel," he said. "I call on everyone to calm the evil winds that are blowing in the holy city."

Magen David Adom paramedic Ahuvia Stern who tended to the most critically wounded victim, said: "A man of about 40 was lying unconscious in the road with a bleeding head wound and extensive injuries to his extremities… We put on tourniquets, sedated him and respirated him until we could transfer him to the ambulance that took him to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem.

"His condition worsened in the ambulance and we had to undertake resuscitation efforts, which continued in the trauma ward of the hospital. At that point, the doctors confirmed his death."

Hamas praised the attack and called for more violence.

"We praise this heroic operation," said Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum. "We call for more such ... operations."

Speaking at the scene of the attack, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich described it as "a road incident with a terrorist purpose … the second in the area of the light rail."

He added that the the police are widely deployed in Jerusalem, particularly in the "seam neighborhoods" between the eastern and western parts of the city and the city center.

"The action of the Border Police officer who chased after the assailant and quickly killed him was correct and professional and that is how we want these incidents to end.

"We will continue to protect Jerusalem, a sensitive city that is experiencing tough times, and this is unlikely to be the last such incident. It is impossible to prevent this sort of attack every time and in every place.

"We will return the quiet and peace to the residents of Jerusalem." 

Under orders from Jerusalem Police District Commander Moshe (Chico) Edri at his briefing after the attack, concrete barriers are now being set up in coordination with the Jerusalem municipality and the CityPass company at the light railway stops to prevent vehicles from entering the passenger waiting areas. 

"Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] is the driver of the death car and the terrorists his emissaries," Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said in response to the attack.

"Israel needs to say clearly that the Fatah-Hamas government is a terror organization and we need to act accordingly."

Ibrahim al-Akri. (Credit: Paltoday.ps)

"The government of Israel needs to act with an iron fist in order to win the war against terror and public disturbances," Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in response to the attack.

Jerusalem terror attack, November 5, 2014. (Credit: Olivier Fitoussi)

"The intention of the terrorists is to disrupt our lives, cause us fear and attack us. The only answer is to get the city back to normality and continue with our daily lives. We are here and we're not leaving."

Tensions in Jerusalem have been particularly high following the shooting of a right-wing activist last week and the police's killing of the Palestinian man suspected of the crime.

Last month, two were killed and six other people were wounded when a Palestinian drove his car into a light rail train station near Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem and ran over passersby disembarking from the train.