Family believes killer was drug addict
The terrorist who carried out the attack in Jerusalem Wednesday was Hussam Tayisir Duwiyat, 30 from the village of Sur Baher, southeast of Jerusalem. Duwiyat was married and a father of two children, aged four and five.
The security forces raided his home Wednesday and arrested several family members.
According to his family, Duwiyat had been employed as a bulldozer operator in recent years.
He was not known to be involved in political activism in his community.
However, the Battalions for the Liberation of the Galilee claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Duwiyat was recruited several months ago.
Security sources said that the claim was likely false. The family, through attorney Shimon Kokush, maintained that Duwiyat was not a terrorist, and that the attack was not terror-related.
Kokush said: "It was a tragic incident, and the family and I send our condolences to the bereaved families and wish rapid recovery to the wounded.
"This was a young man who was imprisoned for rape. He was a drug addict and used drugs."
The attorney said that "minutes before the incident Duwiyat sat with his colleagues at work, eating and laughing, and then he climbed on the bulldozer, probably a driver honked his horn at him and he went crazy, he ran amok."
Kokush insisted that the incident was not related to terrorism and that [Duwiyat] was not related to any terrorist organization.
"Any group that claims responsibility in the case does so only in order to gain notoriety," he said.
The attorney said he was trying to clear the family's name and to prevent the razing of its home, which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said would be done.
"There is also no reason to prevent them from receiving National Insurance [benefits], unless Arab Israelis are being targeted," he added.
A family representative said they were willing to allow an autopsy to show whether Duwiyat was driving the bulldozer under the influence of drugs.
Kokush, who is a Tiberias-based attorney, said he was representing the family because "every citizen deserves legal representation. This is a family of citizens with equal rights, and this is even more imperative in such a case as a terrorist incident."
Several villagers told journalists yesterday that they do not support the killing of civilians.
One of Duwiyat's neighbors, Radi, said this was not a case of "martyrdom," of having died in a holy cause. "A human being goes out and does a crazy thing and they turn him into a shaheed?" he asked.
'A quiet guy'
Another neighbor, Ghateb, said that what happened had surprised the villagers.
"[Duwiyat] had problems with the police about 10 years ago when he was with a Jewish girl, but since then, they separated. He was a very quiet guy and recently we had not noticed anything [unusual] - he behaved normally," the neighbor said.
The family did not set up a mourners tent, but Duwiyat's uncle, who leaves nearby, brought out many chairs for the people who began coming to the family's house to offer their condolences.
The family avoided any contact with the media.
Only after the security forces left the area, did one of the aunts climb a roof and began ululating, calling out the name of the terrorist and describing him as a shaheed - a martyr.
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