A three-month-old baby was killed and eight people injured when a car slammed into pedestrians at a Jerusalem light railway stop, in what Israeli authorities described as a “terror attack”.
The 21-year-old driver was shot by police on Wednesday as he tried to flee the scene on foot and was in serious condition in hospital, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, according to Reuters. The driver was a resident of Arab East Jerusalem, Rosenfeld added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered “to reinforce police presence in Jerusalem after a Palestinian terrorist ran over eight people this evening, killing a baby,” his spokesman Ofir Gendelman wrote on his official Twitter account, adding that the unidentified driver was “a member of Hamas.”
“We can confirm that this was a terrorist attack. The driver is a resident of Silwan and has a terrorist background. He has served time in jail for terror activity,” Rosenfeld said.
Footage of the incident showed the car veer to the right from the traffic lane and hurtle at speed into a light railway platform, hitting pedestrians before coming to a halt.
Two of the injured pedestrians were in serious condition, police said.
The incident took place along a main route leading into the centre of Jerusalem, close to the national police headquarters and one of the city’s main hospitals at Mount Scopus.
Repeated damage caused by Palestinians to the Jerusalem light railway, which links Arab and Jewish neighbourhoods and was once hailed by Israeli authorities as a symbol of coexistence, has put a third of its carriages out of commission.
The vandalisation has underscored deepening divisions in the Israeli-occupied part of the city that Israel claims as its “indivisible capital”.
Tensions have been high in Jerusalem since the 50-day Gaza war that ended in August and the killing of a Palestinian teen in the city by alleged Israeli assailants to avenge the deaths of three abducted Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank.
The last deadly incidents in Jerusalem took place in August when a Palestinian killed an Israeli and overturned a bus with a construction vehicle and a gunman wounded a soldier in attacks that appeared to be a backlash against Israel’s assault on Gaza.
Israel captured East Jerusalem along with Gaza and the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War. It annexed the city shortly afterwards and passed a law in 1980 that declared all of Jerusalem its capital, a move not recognised internationally.