A truck ploughed into a crowd waiting at a bus station in Acre late Thursday, killing one person and injuring 12 others in what police believe was a deliberate attack.

The dead man was identified as a 20-year-old soldier serving in a unit based nearby. Three of the injured were in critical condition and had been transferred to nearby Nahariya for treatment, paramedics said.

Police arrested the truck driver, a local father of three aged 45, as he tried to flee the scene in his vehicle, which was halted when security guards from the neighboring train station fired pistols at the truck's wheels.

The driver later admitted intentionally crashing the truck before refusing to see a lawyer, police said.  

Members of his family who gathered outside the police station where he was being held said he had a history of psychological problems.

Acre has frequently been a flashpoint for violence between Arab and Jewish communities who share the northern coastal city, and police quickly removed the arrested man from the scene, fearing an outbreak of mob violence.

But there was nop apparent nationalist or racist motive for the attack, which they were not treating as a terror incident, police said. The driver appeared to have been distressed by a family dispute, although it was unclear what led him to launch the attack.