Thursday, 3 July 2008

Four dead in bulldozer rampage of terror

DAILY MAIL : July 3, 2008

By Matthew Kalman in Jerusalem

A PALESTINIAN who drove a bulldozer into traffic on one of Jerusalem's busiest streets was yesterday shot dead after killing three Israelis and wounding more than 40.

The attack – the first in Jewish West Jerusalem for nearly four months – caused havoc to the city centre, leaving a trail of mangled vehicles in its wake.

Witnesses say the driver used the 20-ton vehicle to ram repeatedly a bus packed with passengers before striking another and crushing several cars on Jaffa Street.

A police officer managed to shoot the man after a brief struggle.

Last night, police named the attacker as 30-year-old Hosam Dwayyat, a construction worker from Arab East Jerusalem. Israeli police chief Dudi Cohen said there had been no immediate claim of responsibility from militant groups and that Dwayyat appeared to have acted alone.

The Israeli government immediately denounced the attack as 'an act of senseless, murderous violence', while an aide to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas claimed it was an attempt to wreck peace negotiations.

However, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad called the attack a 'natural' response by Palestinians to Israeli aggression. Neither Islamist group claimed responsibility.

Police confirmed last night that two Israeli women and a man died in the attack.

There were also claims on Israeli TV that one unnamed woman had saved her baby daughter's life by throwing her out of a car window seconds before the bulldozer hit. The baby escaped unharmed although the mother was injured.

Another five-month-old girl was pulled alive from the wreckage of one of the buses after rescuers heard her cries. It later become clear her mother was one of the two women who died.

It is the first major attack on Jerusalem since March, when a 25year-old gunman killed eight students at a Jewish religious school distance from Jaffa Road.

Since then, fatal attacks on Israelis have become relatively rare, despite frequent rocket and mortar fire from Gaza. Israeli forces have killed more than 360 Palestinians this year, mostly in Gaza.

More than 100 of dead were civilians.

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