This is the second such attack in as many weeks. Israeli ministers and MKs call for mass arrests, home demolitions in response. In separate incident, Palestinian teen is kidnapped and injured in East Jerusalem. [Updated with details of a second incident in the West Bank Wednesday night.]
One person was killed and 13 others injured, two critically, when a Palestinian man ran over a group of pedestrians in Jerusalem on Wednesday, then attacking passersby with a metal rod. Police shot and killed the perpetrator. At least three of the victims were Border Police officers.
Two people, including a small baby, were killed in a similar attack late last month and the perpetrator was also killed by police.
Following the attack, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich called for the demolition of the perpetrator’s family home and said it was right to have killed him.
Earlier this year Israel began returning to its long-abandoned policy of punitive home demolitions, which for all intents and purposes is collective punishment of uninvolved parties. (I wrote about the return of that practice here early this summer.)
While it may have been necessary to use lethal force to stop this latest attack, a statement by such a high ranking security official endorsing the extra-judicial killing of murder suspects is an affront to the rule of law and the very concept of a judicial system.
Kadima MK and former defense minister Shaul Mofaz responded to the attack by calling for massive arrest raids of uninvolved Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members. There should be hundreds of arrests each day, Mofaz told Army Radio.
Following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens this summer, Israel carried out a similar operation in the West Bank, which arguably led to the Gaza war.
Also contributing to a summer of violence and fear for both the Jewish and Palestinian populations of Jerusalem was the gruesome kidnapping and murder of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir.
On Tuesday of this week, a Palestinian teen from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina reported being briefly kidnapped and later left on the side of the road, Ma’an reported. He suffered injuries to his lungs, neck and back.
Update (9:00 p.m., Wednesday):
Clashes broke out near Shuafat following the attack.
Update (10:50 p.m., Wednesday):
A commercial vehicle with Palestinian license plates ran down three Israeli troops who were standing near an army post adjacent to Al-Arroub refugee camp in between Bethlehem and Hebron late Wednesday night. One of the soldiers was evacuated with serious injuries, the two others with light-to-moderate injuries, the army reported.
Troops were reportedly searching the area for the perpetrator. The following is video purporting to be of the incident
Update (2:45 p.m., Thursday):
A Palestinian man turned himself into Israeli authorities Thursday saying that he struck the three soldiers Wednesday night. Israeli security officials later told the media that the incident was most likely a hit-and-run traffic accident and not an attack targeting the soldiers.