Israeli soldiers killed in Jerusalem truck attack

Four Israelis were killed and more than a dozen people injured Sunday when a truck slammed into a group of soldiers at a Jerusalem bus stop before the assailant was fatally shot, police said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the scene, said the attacker has been identified and “according to all the signs he was a supporter of the Islamic State.”

He said there “definitely could be a connection” between Sunday's incident and recent truck attacks in France and Germany, the Associated Press reported.

Police chief Roni Alsheich described the crash as a terror attack. He said the truck driver was from an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

"You don't need more than two to three seconds to find a terrorist target," he told the Haaretz newspaper. "The soldiers at the scene reacted immediately and killed the attacker."

The assailant speeded up and veered his truck into a group that had just exited the bus, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told TheJerusalem Post. Police heightened security throughout the capital and closed off neighborhoods near the scene, he said. Israel's security cabinet met to discuss fallout from the crash.

Paramedic Landy Sharon told reporters the truck had hit a group of young people. Military service of two years or more is mandatory for most Israelis over 18.

“About 10 people were lying on the ground near the street,” Sharno said. “Some of them were trapped under the truck.”

Leah Schreiber, told Haaretz he was an instructor who had been on the bus with the soldiers.

"A few minutes after we arrived, while I was talking about the Jerusalem landscape, I heard screaming behind me," he said. "I turned around a saw the truck getting on the sidewalk. Soldiers who were in the area started shooting at the truck. At first they couldn't kill him."

The Palestinian Hamas movement praised the attack but did not claim responsibility. Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Qanou called it a “heroic” act and encouraged other Palestinians to do the same.

Sunday's attack is the latest in a series of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis, mostly vehicle rammings and knife attacks. Since September 2015, Palestinian attackers have killed 40 Israelis and two visiting Americans — and 230 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis combating the attacks and other clashes, according to the AP.

Sunday’s attack marks the first Israeli deaths in three months.

USA TODAY


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