Israeli Forces Arrest Driver Who Hit Pedestrians in Jerusalem

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An Israeli policeman stands guard near a car that plowed into pedestrians in Jerusalem injuring several people, before its driver got out and tried to stab them on March 6, 2015. AFP/Thomas Coex

Published Friday, March 6, 2015

Updated at 1:40 pm (GMT+2): A driver plowed his car into Israeli pedestrians in Jerusalem on Friday before trying to stab them, injuring several in an attack mirroring similar incidents last year, Israeli police said.

"A young man rammed his car (into pedestrians), and then got out and tried to stab people" before being shot and seriously wounded by an armed security guard, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

"Four people were injured," she added, describing the incident as a "terrorist attack."

It took place outside an Israeli border police station on the line separating west and annexed East Jerusalem.

Micky Rosenfeld, another Israeli police spokesman, said that four policewomen have been "moderately" injured in the attack and that they had been hospitalized.

Paramedics said they were treating five people for injuries after the attack.

Israeli police said the suspect, in his 20s, was a resident of East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after it occupied the West Bank in 1967.

He was identified by relatives as Mohammed Salaymeh from the neighborhood of Ras al-Amud.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

The incident mirrored a spate of attacks in the city in October and November last year, where Palestinians ploughed vehicles into groups of pedestrians, killing several people.

The alleged attackers were shot dead at the scene by Israeli security forces on those occasions.

There have also been multiple instances of Israeli settlers running over Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2014, injuring a number of Palestinians, including children, and killing two, including 5-year-old Einas Khalil in October. The series of hit-and-runs targeting Palestinians are believed to have been deliberate, but the perpetrators have yet to be arrested or prosecuted, falling in line with the widespread impunity of settlers and soldiers committing acts of violence against Palestinians.

Friday's attack raised tensions in Jerusalem ahead of an Israeli snap general election, and came a day after Palestinian leadership said it would end security cooperation with the Zionist state in occupied Palestinian territories.

The Palestine Liberation Organization took the decision to end the nearly 20 years old security collaboration agreement after Israel decided to withhold $127 million of tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority as punishment for PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to join the International Criminal Court.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War.

It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Zionist state — a move never recognized by the international community.

(AFP, Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)

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