Israeli Police has confirmed that they believe an incident late Wednesday night in which a Palestinian man crashed his car into a bus stop, killing one and seriously wounding another, was a terrorist attack.
The driver, 37-year-old Khaled Koutineh from Anata, ploughed his car into waiting commuters at the French Hill junction in north eastern Jerusalem at around midnight.
25-year-old Shalom Cherki and a woman in her 20s Shira Klein were both seriously injured and evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital. Cherki died hours later having suffered severe head trauma and Klein remained in a serious condition at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. Cherki, the son of a prominent rabbi, was buried yesterday in Jerusalem.
Appearing in a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, Koutineh’s custody was extended until Monday. However, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld commented, “After the suspect was questioned, the preliminary findings reinforced that the incident was an attack; however, the investigation is continuing.”
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) is also taking part in the investigation.
Wednesday’s incident follows several attacks by Palestinian terrorists on Israelis in Jerusalem during the past several months.
Three people were killed, including a three-month-old baby and dozens injured in two separate incidents towards the end of 2014 in which Palestinians ploughed vehicles into commuters waiting for the light railway in Jerusalem, not far from the scene of Wednesday’s attack. In December, a Palestinian stabbed and wounded two police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City. In a dramatic incident in February, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat helped subdue and apprehend a Palestinian man who stabbed an Israeli at a junction in the centre of Jerusalem.
In another incident last October, a 22-year-old female Ecuadorian national died in Jerusalem in a terrorist attack that also took the life of three-month- old Chaya Zissel Braun and injured seven others.
Such incidents are not thought to have been orchestrated by specific terrorist organisations, but appear to be ‘lone wolf’ attacks.
Israeli leaders have consistently pointed the finger of responsibility at incitement by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Last year, PA President Mahmoud Abbas called on Palestinians to “use any means” to prevent Jews from “desecrating the Temple Mount” in Jerusalem’s Old City.