Two policemen hurt in bulldozer terror attack in Jerusalem
Terrorist shot at scene, named as Marei Radaydeh, a West Bank construction worker in his mid-20s from East Jerusalem.
Two police officers were lightly wounded in Jerusalem Thursday afternoon when an Arab bulldozer driver overturned their police car and rammed it into a bus, before being shot by police and a taxi driver. He later died of his wounds.
The attack occurred around 1 P.M. near the Malha shopping mall, on Menachem Begin Boulevard in southern Jerusalem.
Police said that a copy of the Koran had been found in the bulldozer after the attack, and that the driver had not been carrying any identification.
Israel Police and local residents later identified the man as Marei Radaydeh, a West Bank construction worker in his mid-20s who lived with his family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Radaydeh was married and had a daughter.
The bulldozer attack was the fourth of its kind over the past year. Police sources said this showed Israel has not established suitable deterrence.
Police officer Eldad Bin Nun said he fired 15 rounds at Radaydeh before he collapsed. Two more officers then arrived, as did a taxi driver, and they also opened fire.
The cabbie said he began chasing Radaydeh when he saw the attack begin.
Eyewitness Shuli Cohen said that Radaydeh had used the bulldozer's front blade to flip the police car. Witnesses described seeing the bulldozer speeding along the highway, dragging the police car and sending it flying into the air. The two officers inside were lightly hurt.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called for the demolition of Radaydeh's home ¬ a tactic that has drawn international criticism. He said home demolitions are needed to deter others from attacking.
"It was simply an attack meant to murder innocent people," Barkat said.
Hamas praised the attack, calling it a "natural response" to Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in Arab East Jerusalem and to Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip.
Riyad al-Malki, information minister for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Western-backed government, called the attack as "traffic accident," and demanded an investigation into why the driver had been shot.
Asked if the incident would lead to tighter security in Jerusalem, the city's deputy police commander, Niso Shaham, said that security had been stepped up ahead of the Purim holiday, and the attack would be taken into consideration.
In July 2008, a Palestinian went on a rampage in a bulldozer on Jaffa Street, killing three people and wounding dozens more. Two weeks later, a resident of East Jerusalem carried out a similar attack, wounding at least 24 people.
In September, an Arab resident of East Jerusalem plowed his car into a crowd of Israel Defense Forces soldiers on their way to the Western Wall.
All three of the drivers were shot dead at the scene.