A few hours ago, a palestinian from East Jerusalem – with an Israeli ID card – deliberately plowed a bulldozer he was driving into a passenger bus on Jaffa Street, Jerusalem, killing at least four people and wounding dozens more.
I know many of you come here for my liveblogging and I will try to update you during the day on further developments, but since I am paid to work and not to blog, I can’t promise much until later.
Updates (Israel time)
2:33PM: The current tally is 4 dead, 44 wounded.
Meanwhile, it seems as though the man who killed the terrorist is related to another terrorist killer.
A soldier on leave took the gun from an elite policeman at the scene and shot the terrorist dead. The soldier, Moshe Klessner, 18, is the brother-in-law of IDF officer David Shapira, who killed the terrorist in the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva attack, Channel 2 reported.
2:45PM: A close call for the daughter of Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, who was in the next bus.
3:00PM: The palestinian Ramattan News Agency makes the attack sound like an accident with the following headline:
They also report that the Ahrar Al-Jalil Brigades has claimed responsibility for the attack. Yeah, that Ahrar Al-Jalil Brigades. Hence I wouldn’t take their word for it.
By the way, this group also claimed responsibility for the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva attack earlier this year.
3:40PM: Jaffa Street is one of the main streets in downtown Jerusalem. If you have visited Israel, you have almost definitely spent time there. The attack took place near the old Central Bus Station, so many of you would be familiar with this area.
4:46PM: Killing is great for business: 3 palestinian groups have now claimed responsibility for the attack, but security officials are saying the terrorist was acting alone.
4:54PM: Believe it or not, here is recorded footage of the terrorist being stopped.
And if you really want to be aggravated, go visit the Live Leak page of this video and see some of the comments.
(Video seen over at Israel Matzav, where Carl is also live blogging)
6:00PM: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ordered ministers to examine the possibility of razing the terrorist’s home in East Jerusalem, as well as revoking National Insurance Institute stipends from the terrorist’s family.
6:36PM: More from Moshe Plesser, the off-duty soldier who shot and killed the scum who drove the bulldozer:
As he began running towards the bulldozer, Plesser said that he shouted out to onlookers for a gun. Together with another civilian, Plesser climbed aboard the bulldozer and began wrestling with the driver.
“At one point he [the driver] yelled out “Allah Akhbar” [God is great] and stepped on the gas pedal,” Plesser recalled. “I drew the weapon of the civilian who was with me and shot the driver three times in the head. I think I did what is expected from every soldier and citizen.”
Seconds later, a police officer, Eli Mizrahi, climbed aboard the bulldozer and shot the terrorist again, killing him.
Plesser said that his brother-in-law David’s heroic conduct in March served as a role model. Shapira, who lives across the street from Mercaz Harav, heard the late-night shooting, ran into the building where two police officers were standing, took one of their caps and ran inside and shot the terrorist.
“I thank God who gave me and my brother-in-law the strength to do what we did,” he said, adding that his education in national-religious institutions and training in the elite Egoz unit served as the basis for his courageous conduct.
Incidentally, these national-religious institutions are much vilified, both by the world at large and some secular elements within Israel. But mark my words – the guys who go there are the best of the best, both in terms of their principles, as well as their heroism.
6:40PM: Knesset Member Esterina Tattman:
“If the terrorist who carried out the attack in Jerusalem really is a resident of east Jerusalem, who enjoyed State funds, we must demolish his house and deport his family to Gaza.”
6:52PM: CNN, true to form, has this headline:
Here’s their justification for the quotation marks:
Israeli authorities are investigating why a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem rammed his bulldozer into several cars and buses Wednesday, killing three people before Israeli police shot him dead.
Israeli authorities are labeling it a terrorist attack, although they say there is no clear motive and the man — a construction worker — acted alone. It is not known if he had links to any terrorist organization.
So let’s get this straight. The man cries “Allah Akhbar” and deliberately kills innocent people, yet the motive is still not clear?
Nice one, CNN.
8:13PM: The Knesset has approved two bills that will enable the government to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs involved in terror activities as well as that of their families.
‘Bout bloody time.
9:05PM: As Honest Reporting points out, the BBC’s original headline for the report on today’s terror attack was Israel bulldozer driver shot dead.
I kid you not.
9:12PM: Commenter Daniel writes:
Dutch TV just reported it’s not a terrorist attack at all. Just a desperate individual.
9:25PM: “Ahmad? You are with the bulldozer driver’s family? Excellent. Make sure you take a picture of them holding a picture of him. And make sure it is a picture that makes him look gentle, intelligent and refined. Such as one of him in a suit and tie. Thanks Ahmad. I know I can count on you.”
A picture shows a portrait of Hussam Tarysir Dwayat, the Palestinian bulldozer driver who executed an attack in Jerusalem. A Palestinian killed three people and wounded 45 more as he rammed a bulldozer into buses and cars in Jerusalem on Wednesday before being shot dead by Israeli police who branded it a terror attack. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
10:37PM: Ynet reports on the miraculous survival of a five-month old baby girl who lost her mother in the attack.
11:15PM: Two of the victims have been identified.
Jerusalem residents Bat Sheva Unterman, 33, and Elizabeth Goren-Friedman, 54, were killed in the attack, as was a third person whose identity has not yet been released.
Unterman was a resident of Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighborhood, and worked as a nanny in a religious kingergarten in the city’s Har Homa quarter. She was killed when the car she was driving was crushed by the oncoming bulldozer.
Unterman’s 6-month old daughter, Efrat, was evacuated from the car just before the vehicle was hit.
Her husband, Ido, was notified only hours after the attack that his wife had been killed.
Unterman was the daughter of Rifka and James Lubenstein, immigrants from Holland. Her husband, Ido, was the grandson of Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman, who served as chief rabbi of Liverpool and of Tel Aviv, and also as chief rabbi of Israel from 1964-1973.
The Unterman couple had tried for years to have children, but managed only with the birth of Efrat last year. Bat-Sheva had extended her maternity leave by a few months, returning to work last week with her daughter to celebrate the end of the year party.
Unterman’s friend, Meira Schwartz, described her as a person filled with faith, who never gave up her dream of having children, even after having to go through countless procedures.
“Until Efrat was born, the children in the kindergarten were like her own, and she was a nanny of the highest excellence, with exemplary patience for each and ever child,” said Schwartz.
Unterman will be laid to rest at 11:30 P.M. in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem.
‘It’s difficult to speak about her in past tense’
Elizabeth Goren-Friedman, originally from Austria, was a resident of Katamon who worked as a teacher in a school for the blind. She was laid to rest at 10:30 P.M. in Givat Shaul.
Goren-Friedman was divorced and the mother of three children: Yael, 16, Issachar, 19, and Zvi, 23. Both of her sons were students at the Horev hesder yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Her friends described her as a “wonderful person,” who volunteered regularly at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.
Rachel Sakrovish, who worked with Goren-Friedman, said her colleague was an excellent teachers. “It’s hard to speak about her in the last tense. Lili was a wonderful person. There was not a student that she did not help progress on a personal, educational, and rehabilitative level. We knew that if a student was retreated or having difficulties, Luly was the teacher who would do the fundamental work to help him advance.”
“When I think of her, I remember the phrase, ‘a woman of valor, who can find,'” she said
May their blood be avenged.