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Palestinian driver ploughs into bus stop killing two Israelis

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Palestinian driver ploughs into bus stop killing two Israelis © Reuters. A general view shows the scene where a suspected ramming attack took place in Jerusalem, February 10, 2023. REUTERS/Ammar Awad


By Dan Williams and Maayan Lubell

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Two Israelis including a child were killed and several injured when a Palestinian driver rammed his car into a group of people at a bus stop on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli emergency services said.

A police spokesman said the driver, who was shot at the scene by officers, was dead. An Israeli security official identified him as Hussain Qraqaa, 31, a resident of Issawia in East Jerusalem.

A volunteer medic with United Hatzalah ambulance service, Ariel Ben-David, told Army Radio: “Everyone was lying out, thrown about, in very bad condition. To our regret, one child did not survive.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the incident as a terrorist attack and ordered security forces to be reinforced.

His far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said he had ordered police to prepare on Sunday operations against what he described as “terrorist hotbeds” in East Jerusalem.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said he ordered the seizure of millions of shekels worth of funds paid by the Palestinian Authority to 87 former and serving East Jerusalem Palestinian security prisoners and their families.

The ramming occurred during a period of rising anxiety in Israel over security following an attack in which a lone Palestinian gunman killed seven people outside a synagogue last month.

Israeli forces have carried out hundreds of arrests over recent months during near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank that have seen bloody gunbattles with Palestinian militants.

At least 42 Palestinians, including gunmen and civilians, have been killed this year.

A spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, praised Friday’s attack as a “heroic operation” but did not claim responsibility.

As well as a six-year-old boy, a 20-year-old man was also killed. The six-year-old’s brother was critically injured in the incident, Channel 12 News said.

Footage showed a blue car that had crashed into a pole in front of the bus stop in the Ramot area, a part of Jerusalem that was annexed by Israel after the 1967 Middle Eastern war in a move not recognised abroad.

Ben-Gvir visited the scene and was greeted by angry crowds who surrounded him, some chanting, “Death to terrorists!”.

Ten members of the assailant’s family were arrested, police said. Footage showed officers in riot gear leading several handcuffed people from a house.  

The U.S. Office of Palestinian affairs condemned the attack and said it was working with both sides to prevent escalation.

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