by: Ilse Posselt
Monday, 09 January 2017 | They call it “Cultural Sundays,” a day designed to treat soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) with outings to significant historical and national landmarks around the Promised Land. Yesterday was no different, as a group of IDF officers and officer cadets set out to explore the City of Gold. One of their stops included the Haas-Sherover Promenade, a popular tourist spot offering a panoramic view over Jerusalem and the Old City. The group was exiting the bus at around 1:30 p.m. when terror struck: a Palestinian terrorist driving a large flatbed truck plowed into the soldiers, killing four.
The IDF confirmed yesterday afternoon that three female soldiers and one male soldier were declared dead at the scene. The four victims were all in their early twenties. Seventeen more officers and cadets were injured, two seriously. According to a Magan David Adom paramedic on the scene, a number of victims were caught under the truck.
Police reports indicate that the terrorist accelerated as he struck the group of Israelis. Eyewitnesses who saw the gruesome attack also told the media that after striking the pedestrians, the terrorist shifted the truck into reverse to run over them a second time. Armed civilians and two soldiers shot and killed the terrorist.
Eitan Rund, the tour guide leading the group, told reporters about the attack. “In a fraction of a second during which I was speaking with one of the officers, I saw the truck plowing into us. After a few rolls on the grass, I saw the truck start to reverse and then I already understood that this was not an accident. He went in reverse and again drove over the injured.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visited the scene of the attack yesterday afternoon. Netanyahu told reporters that all signs pointed to the terrorist being a supporter of the Islamic State. He added that there might be links between yesterday’s attack and other similar attacks recently in Berlin, Germany and Nice, France.
“We are fighting this plague and will defeat it,” Netanyahu vowed. “We will overcome this terrorism, just as we overcame other attacks. There are a number of actions that we will not specify at this time which we will have to take to ensure that incidents such as these do not recur.”
For his part, Liberman told the media that the attack was the direct consequence of incitement against Jews in the Promise Land. “This brutal attack is obviously not because of any other reason but one: because we are Jews and we live here in Israel,” he said.
“There was no other reason, and no need to look for an excuse—not Jewish settlements and negotiations, but an attack inspired by ISIS,” Liberman continued. “We saw it in France, we saw it in Berlin and unfortunately, we saw it today in Jerusalem. We will fight this terrorism with all tools at our disposal, and I am sure that we will win.”
The terrorist was identified as 28- year-old Fadi Ahmad Al-Qunbar from Jabel Mukaber, a neighborhood in east Jerusalem close to the site of the attack. Family members describe him as a “devoutly religious man, married with four children.”
While foreign dignitaries from around the world were quick to express their horror and condemnation, the reaction from large sections of the Palestinian society was one of joyous celebration over the bloodshed and loss of life.
Hamas, the terror group ruling over the Gaza Strip, lauded the attack as “heroic.” Hamas spokesman, Hazem Qassem, praised the murder on his Facebook page, saying “These operations demonstrate that all attempts to bypass the resistance or to thwart it will fail every time.” The terror group also took to Twitter in an attempt to get the phrase #TruckIntifada trending on the social media site. Thousands of Hamas activists and supporters also took to the streets of Gaza last night in a celebration rally, chanting anti-Israel slogans and handing out sweets to passersby.
Moreover, upon learning of the attack, the terrorist’s sister sang her brother’s praises saying, “Praise be to God that he became a martyr. It is the most beautiful martyrdom.”
Yesterday’s attack marks the deadliest to occur in Jerusalem since the start of the wave of terror in September 2015. Over the past 16 months, 46 people have been murdered in 333 terror attacks across the country.
Posted on January 9, 2017
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 09 January 2017)
Photo Credit: Ashernet
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