CCTV footage has captured the moment when a truck ploughed at high speed into Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem yesterday before reversing over them.
Three women and one man, all in their twenties, were killed and 17 others were wounded, police said. The Israel Defense Forces tweeted that their names were Lt Yael Yekutiel, Lt Shir Hajaj, 2nd Lt Erez Orbach and 2nd Lt Shira Tzur.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attacker, who was shot dead by soldiers, was a suspected supporter of ISIS. But the prime minister gave no evidence to support the claim.
The attacker, identified as 28-year-old Fadi Qunbar, came from the Palestinian district of Jabel Mukaber in east Jerusalem, near to the attack site. The attack took place on the popular Armon Hanatziv promenade overlooking the walled Old City of Jerusalem.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said security had been heightened throughout the city in response.
Israeli leaders have demanded that extreme punitive actions be taken against the family of the attacker – with one minister advocating that they be exiled to Syria – as five of his family members remained in Israeli custody despite their insistence they had no advanced knowledge of plans for the attack.
While Israeli officials have often said that Palestinian attacks on Israelis are due mainly to anti-Semitic sentiment or part of a international rise in Islamist extremism, many Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel’s decades-long military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.
The military wing of the Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, reacted to the attack by saying it was a natural response to the daily violence and restrictions Palestinians experience under the Israeli occupation, echoing a similar statement by the Hamas movement on Sunday.
“The leaders of the Israeli occupation make hideous statements inciting (Israeli soldiers) to commit field executions and imposes closures on holy sites in an attempt to ‘Judaize’ them,” the statement said. “The Israeli army carries out these policies thinking that the resistance and the Palestinian people are not capable of responding on both political and military levels.”
The brigades added that they were closely following the Israeli violations in the Gaza Strip, including the near-daily attacks on fishermen and farmers, while also monitoring violations in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the installations of checkpoints and road closures in the wake of the attack.
The group called the attack “a message to Israeli leaders that Palestinian people will respond to their crimes.”
Meanwhile, the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said that the attack was part of the popular response to Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people in the occupied territory.
The PFLP said that the deadly incident proved that the “Intifada continues,” and called upon all Palestinian national organisations to take responsibility for protecting and reinforcing Palestinian self-determination in Jerusalem.
The PFLP added that the celebrations that took place in the Gaza Strip after the attack were “a spontaneous popular reaction that confirmed the solidarity of Palestinian people in all districts.”