Tractor rams into bus in Jerusalem terror attack
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Roternik Press Group
The rammed bus in Jerusalem, August 4, 2014. Photo by Roternik Press Group

Several hours after a man driving a digger used his vehicle to flip over a bus, killing one, a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire Monday on a hitchhiking station on Mt. Scopus in East Jerusalem. Several people were wounded in both attacks.

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According to a preliminary investigation of the Mt. Scopus incident, a man dressed in black shot a 20-year-old soldier in the stomach, wounding him seriously, got on a motorcycle that was waiting for him and fled the scene. A security guard standing nearby shot at the suspect, but failed to hit him. Security forces are attempting to apprehend the attacker.

The man killed in the digger attack was Avraham Walles, a 29-year-old father of five. Five others were lightly wounded in the attack: the bus driver, three passengers and a police officer. The incident, which took place in the Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood, has been declared a terrorist attack.

An Israel Prison Service officer who was near the scene as the digger attack unfolded joined a police officer in firing toward the digger driver, who was consequently killed. The IPS officer was lightly wounded while trying to pull the assailant out of the vehicle.

The assailant, Naif Jabis of Jabek Mukaber, drove his vehicle out of a construction site, hit a 25-year-old passerby, then turned toward a nearby square, and after several meters used the digger's arm to flip over the bus.

Four people were hospitalized for light injuries. "We attempted to revive [the driver], but in the end had to declare his death," Fadi Badarna, a medic who was summoned to the scene told Haaretz. "We also treated six others who were suffering light injuries or shock."

"We were expecting such an event," said Jerusalem Police Chief Yossi Pariente, who commended the two policemen and the prison services employee who overcame the attacker.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also offered praise to the men. "This could have been a very serious tragedy, if not for the alertness and resourcefulness of the policemen."

He called on the residents of Jerusalem to refrain from "taking the law into their own hands," and said that anyone who would attempt to do so would "pay a dear price."

After the East Jerusalem attack, Pariente spoke once more to the press. "We will flood Jerusalem with policemen, wherever there are points of friction. We are boosting our forces, and we will return the safety to residents of Jerusalem."

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem sought to stress the fact that the shooting did not occur within its grounds.

Six years since last such attack

In July 2008, three people were killed and dozens were wounded when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem deliberately plowed a bulldozer he was driving into a passenger bus on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem.

Two weeks later, 24 people were wounded when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem plowed a bulldozer into five vehicles before being shot.

Last year, a Palestinian was killed by IDF troops after smashing through the fence around an army base north of Jerusalem, on a bulldozer. One soldier was lightly wounded. The Palestinian apparently planned to commit an attack inside the A-Ram base by running over anyone who happened to cross his path, a senior officer said in a briefing for reporters.