A three-month-old girl was killed Wednesday afternoon and eight others were injured when a car crashed into a crowd at a light rail station in Jerusalem in what officials said was a terrorist attack.
The suspect, identified by an Israeli official as a member of terror group Hamas, attempted to flee the scene on foot and was shot and badly hurt by police, a police spokesperson said.
“A private car which arrived from the direction of the French Hill junction hit a number of pedestrians who were on the pavement and injured nine of them,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.
“Initial indications suggest this is a hit-and-run terror attack,” Samri said.
The baby, Chaya Zissel Braun, died at the nearby Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus a few hours after the incident. A spokesperson for Israeli rescue service Magen David Adom said a 60-year-old woman and seven other people, including the baby’s parents, were also lightly and moderately wounded in the attack.
The alleged attacker is Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, a former Palestinian prisoner from the flashpoint neighborhood of Silwan.
Police confirmed that the suspect was from Silwan and had previously served in Israeli prison.
Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said on Twitter that all of those injured in the incident were evacuated to local hospitals and that an investigation was ongoing.
Less than a day after a terrorist attack on a light rail station in Jerusalem in which a three-month-old baby was killed, tensions flared in the capital.
Early Thursday morning, a Jewish kindergarten in East Jerusalem was pelted with rocks. No casualties were reported in the incident, which took place in the Ma’ale Hazeitim neighborhood on the Mount of Olives, near Ras el-Amud.
Hours after Wednesday’s attack, which saw a Hamas supporter from East Jerusalem ram his car into a busy station, attacks on the light rail continued, with Arab residents of the city hurling rocks and damaging two train cars in Shuafat.
Police and border police deployed to the East Jerusalem village of Issawiya, near the Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus, were also hit with rocks overnight Wednesday and throughout Thursday morning.
Jerusalem police vowed Thursday to crack down on any violence as they fanned out across the city.
“Jerusalem police emphasizes that it will demonstrate zero tolerance toward 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.
The horror of a terror attack that killed a 3-month-old girl at the Jerusalem light rail Wednesday evening gives way to general disgust in the Hebrew press Thursday morning, as newspapers wrestle with the tragedy and its aftermath.
“Just 3 months old,” reads the main headline of Israel Hayom, on top of what appears to be an exclusive picture of the baby being carried to an ambulance, while Yedioth Ahronoth’s outrage is expressed in its A1 header: “Terror against a baby.”
Yedioth reports that the baby, Chaya Zissel Braun, and her parents, got to the station after visiting the Western Wall, the first time they went there with the baby, whom they had been trying to conceive for an extended period.
“When I got to the scene I saw a mother holding an unconscious baby,” a rescue worker tells the paper. “We immediately began life saving measures. The mother was agitated and screaming ‘that’s my baby, that’s my baby.’”
In Israel Hayom, commentator Emily Amrousi echoes widely quoted comments from the baby’s grandfather that Braun was pure, writing that her only crime was being a Jewish baby.
“She has reluctantly now joined the row of tiny graves. Shalhevet Pass and Yehuda Shoham, Hadas Fogel and Shaked Avraham, Yonatan Palmer and Shmuel Zargari, and a long list of Jewish babies that never knew how to say two words, their only crime being their existence,” she writes, listing young terror victims from the last two decades.
While the news coverage focuses on the terror attacks, most commentators take a step back to examine the larger picture of rising violence in Jerusalem, declaring unequivocally that a new intifada is upon Jerusalem.
The “third intifada” bogeyman been sneaking into press coverage for years, but officials and many commentators have until now treated it like a cross between Voldemort and a royal baby, sometimes refusing to speak its name and dismissing claims of a new one as scaremongering, and sometimes heralding its arrival with fanfare and hand-wringing.
Unsurprisingly, the terror attack brings commentators back around to the latter mindset.
“There’s no choice but to say it: An urban intifada is running wild in Jerusalem,” Haaretz’s Amos Harel writes, running down the litany of violent incidents the capital has experienced over the last several months.
In Yedioth, Alex Fishman calls the situation “anarchy” and makes a similar plea for the violence to be quelled. But he rather pessimistically notes that it doesn’t seem anybody, the police or the Palestinian leadership, can put an end to it.
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