17 hurt as terrorist plows car into Jerusalem crowd
East Jerusalem resident targeted group of soldiers on their to Western Wall, was shot dead by IDF officer in group.
Seventeen people were wounded Monday night when a resident of Arab East Jerusalem plowed his car into a crowd of Israel Defense Forces soldiers on their way to the Western Wall to mark the upcoming Jewish New Year.
The attack occurred in the capital's Tzahal Square, close to the Old City.
Two of the wounded were in serious condition, four were moderately hurt and the rest were lightly wounded, the Magen David Adom rescue service said. At least 13 were still hospitalized Tuesday morning. One of the victims was still in moderate to serious condition.
Jerusalem Police Commander Ilan Franco said the driver had apparently acted alone.
"A man in a vehicle struck a number of people in Tzahal Square," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. "We can confirm it was a terror attack. The man was shot and killed."
A previously unknown group claimed responsibility for the attack, Channel 2 television said.
An Israel Radio reporter at the scene described a large group of mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews chasing an Arab into the Old City after the attack.
The emergency call came into Magen David Adom at 10:55 P.M., but it described the incident as a traffic accident. Only when the ambulance arrived did it become clear that it was a terror attack.
"I saw the car coming quickly and hit a group of soldiers and students standing there," an eyewitness said. "It happened very fast. It was impossible to know beforehand that this is what he intended to do."
Rescue personnel evacuated all of the victims to hospitals in the city. Local TV showed footage of a wounded soldier on a stretcher, holding his head, as he was wheeled into an ambulance.
Dr. Yuval Weiss, the director of Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, said that 10 victims had been treated at the hospital, all of them fully conscious.
Jerusalem police said that though there was no prior intelligence indicating a possible terror attack, the level of alert had been raised in recent days due to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the upcoming Jewish holidays.
This is the third time a vehicle has been used in a terror attack in Jerusalem in as many months. In July, two East Jerusalem residents carried out separate attacks with vehicles used in ongoing construction work in the city, killing three people and wounding many others.