9 Jan 2017

Four killed in Jerusalem truck attack

9:44 am on 9 January 2017

Four Israeli officer cadets have been killed in Jerusalem by a Palestinian man who rammed a lorry into them, in what police say was a terrorist attack.

Officials examine the scene of the attack, which left four people dead.

Officials examine the scene of the attack, which left four people dead. Photo: AFP

Three women and one man, all in their twenties, were killed and at least 13 more were wounded, police said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attacker, who was shot dead by soldiers, was a suspected supporter of so-called Islamic State.

His office gave no details on what led to that finding.

Israel police chief Roni Alsheich said the attacker, who has been identified by police, was a Palestinian from East Jerusalem.

CCTV footage showed the man driving the truck off the road and ploughing at high speed into the soldiers, before reversing over the victims.

"He drove backward to crush more people," witness Leah Schreiber told reporters. "That was really clear."

The attack took place on the popular Armon Hanatziv promenade overlooking the walled Old City of Jerusalem.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said security had been heightened throughout the city in response.

Mr Netanyahu visited the site on Sunday afternoon, alongside Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The pair spoke with rescue workers and security officials.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on residents not to "let terror win" and said militants would "pay a heavy price".

"There is no limit to the cruelty of the terrorists who are willing to use any means possible to murder Jews and to damage the life routine of Israel's capital," he said.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas praised the attacker, according to the Associated Press. Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Qanou called it a "heroic" act and encouraged other Palestinians to "escalate the resistance".

Before this latest incident, 35 Israelis had been killed in a wave of knife, gun and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since October 2015.

More than 200 Palestinians - mostly attackers, Israel says - have also been killed in that period.

Israel says Palestinian incitement has fuelled the attacks. The Palestinian leadership has blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.


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