22 July 2008

Arab from East Jerusalem "Goes Postal" on the Jaffa Road

Copyright © 2008, R. Kossover
First published at Blogcritics Magazine

Jerusalem, 2 July, 2008

Jerusalem, Israel 13:34, IST

At the construction site of Jerusalem's light rail system near Bank Le'umi on the Jaffa Road, an Arab drove a construction vehicle, described by some as a tractor, left the site itself and entered into oncoming traffic, crashed into a bus stop with passengers, crashed into a bus, overturning it, and continued along the Jaffa Road in the direction of the Central Bus Station (from where this is being written), overturning and crashing into vehicles.

Police responded to emergency calls from the vicinity of this event from the Russian Compound, where the Zion Station is located, with motorcycles, squad cars, and trucks. According to reports that I gathered near the scene, the Arab continued with his rampage until he was killed. I saw at least seven ambulances proceeding from downtown along the Jaffa Road, where I had been awaiting a bus, as well as the police vehicles described above, and a Zak"a vehicle. Zak"a is a group of volunteers who put together body parts while sorting out the parts of corpses for cleansing (where possible) and for burial. They are usually found at terrorist bombings.

According to Israel Porges, a yeshiva student studying on Agrippas Street, a block away from the Jaffa Road, this all began around noon. From what he reports, both as a witness, and as one listening to the semi-official Kol Yisrael Radio, there had been reports flowing to Shaba"k, Israel's secret police, that a terrorist incident of some kind might occur, but this particular kind of event was evidently beyond their imagination. At this writing, 13:30 p.m., Israel Summer Time (10:30 GMT), it is still not clear to me that this has been a "terrorist" attack in the classic sense of the word, but alerts continue to flow into the Shaba"k.

It is also not yet clear whether the Arab who did this was actually a worker on the site, or someone who had gotten the keys to the vehicle. When I left the site of the event to go to the Central Bus Station to write this, the Voice of Israel had already reported two dead killed by the Arab.

Updates on this will follow later from Ma'ale Levona.


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