Israeli police on red alert after ‘terror attack’ on Jerusalem train station

October 23, 2014 | By | Reply More

Oct 23, – Police flooded flashpoint neighbourhoods of Jerusalem on Thursday after clashes triggered when a Palestinian rammed his car into a crowd, killing a baby in what authorities described as a “terror attack”.

hromedia Israeli police on red alert after 'terror attack' on Jerusalem train station arab uprising2It was the second deadly incident involving a Palestinian driving a vehicle in three months and prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to order an immediate increase in the police presence across the Holy City.

The driver, 21-year-old Abdelrahman Shaludi from the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan, drove his car at high speed into a group of pedestrians, killing a three-month-old girl and injuring six other people.

He was shot by police as he tried to flee the scene and later died of his injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The incident triggered clashes between stone-throwing youths and police in several east Jerusalem neighbourhoods which lasted late into the night.

Unrest has gripped the eastern part of the city on an almost daily basis for the past four months, and several Israeli commentators said the unrest was being fanned by recent acquisitions of homes in the area by Jewish settlers.

Police warned Thursday they would not tolerate further unrest.

“Jerusalem police emphasises that it will demonstrate zero tolerance towards any incident of violence and will put its hand on anyone who disturbs public order in the city and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

– ‘Strategic plan’ activated –

Overnight clashes took place in the districts of Silwan, Issawiya, the Shuafat refugee camp, Al-Tur and Ras al-Amud — all flashpoints in Arab east Jerusalem, which was occupied and annexed by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community.

Stones were also thrown at the light rail in Shuafat, which has repeatedly been a target for local anger in recent months. Police said the train was damaged but nobody was injured.

Most of the extra police were deployed in key areas of friction — Wadi Joz, Issawiya and Silwan — to prevent further unrest, police said. They confirmed arrests overnight but did not give numbers.

Police said they had activated “a strategic plan” to end the wave of unrest, which would include aerial observation and the deployment of extra forces on the ground, some of them undercover.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said there was no choice but to flood flashpoint neighbourhoods with police to return calm.

“The situation in east Jerusalem is intolerable… Today it is clearer than ever that we have to deploy police into neighbourhoods where there are disturbances to stabilise them,” a statement said.

Washington denounced Wednesday’s attack as “despicable” and called for both sides to demonstrate restraint to “avoid escalating tensions”, but did not confirm reports that the infant who was killed had US nationality.

The victim, three-month-old Haya Zissel Braun, was buried at a late-night funeral in Jerusalem.

Witnesses told AFP the car had ploughed into the crowd “at full speed” and footage posted on YouTube showed the car speeding off the road and cutting down a group of people.

Police described it as a “hit and run terror attack”.

During another incident in August, a Palestinian rammed a bus with an excavator, killing one Israeli and injuring five. Police shot the driver dead.

Family members said Shaludi had been recently released from prison where he served 14 months for disturbing the peace, a euphemism for participating in unrest.

They said he was a nephew of senior Hamas bombmaker Muhi al-Din Sharif who was killed in 1998, but it was not clear whether Shaludi was actually a member of the Islamist movement, as claimed by Israel.

– Settlements ‘fanning the flames’ –

Much of Palestinian anger over Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem has focused on Silwan — a densely populated Arab neighbourhood on a steep hillside just south of the Old City.

The neighbourhood hit the headlines in the past month after settlers acquired another 35 apartments there, triggering outrage from the Palestinians and condemnation from Washington.

Several Israeli commentators said that settlement expansion in Silwan had enflamed a wave of Palestinian anger which was ignited in east Jerusalem in early July after the grisly murder of a local teenager by Jewish extremists.

“Since the murder, the area… has been on the brink of anarchy,” wrote Alex Fishman in the top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

“The Israeli establishment did its part in fanning the flames of the growing anarchy — Jews going to live in Silwan (and) forbidding Muslims from entering the Temple Mount during Jewish holidays,” he wrote of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a site which is holy to both faiths.

Fellow commentator Shimon Shiffer also singled out the developments in Silwan.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat reports.

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Category: Arab uprising

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