A Palestinian man drove his car into a group of pedestrians near a Jerusalem light rail station Wednesday, then got out of his car and began wielding a metal bar at pedestrians, killing one person and injuring 14 in what Israeli security sources are calling a terror attack.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it a "heroic running-over operation," Reuters reported.
“We join hands with those who avenge the blood of those injured in Al-Aqsa," Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri tweeted, referring to new clashes in Jerusalem's Old City.
A police spokesman said an officer fatally shot the suspect, stopping the rampage. Security camera footage showed the suspect running in the street, while a police vehicle appeared to be chasing him back and forth in an effort to run him down.
Alexander Margalit told Israel's Army Radio he was driving behind the suspect as he drove at a high speed and rammed into the pedestrians. Margalit said the man continued driving over the rail tracks before getting out of his car with the metal bar.
Margalit described the scene as a “terrible horror film.”
Security sources identified the suspect as Ibrahim Akari, an Arab resident of east Jerusalem. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he was affiliated with Hamas.
Israel’s Army Radio reported that police believe the suspect targeted uniformed officers recently deployed to Jerusalem to combat the growing violence gripping Israel’s capital that some have described as a new “intifada,” or Palestinian uprising.
“Jerusalem is in the middle of a war. The Jewish residents are in daily danger,” retired Maj. Gen. Arieh Amit, former Jerusalem district police commander told Army Radio.
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli police closed access to the Temple Mount after Palestinians threw stones and firecrackers at police forces in Jerusalem's Old City.
Rosenfeld said stun grenades were used to disperse the protesters. The holy site was reopened a short time later.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month ordered an additional 1,000 police personnel to Jerusalem in response to the increased violence.
Wednesday’s attack followed a nearly identical incident two weeks ago in which another Palestinian man also barreled into pedestrians at a rail station, killing a 3-month-old American girl and a 22-year-old woman, just a short distance from the location of Wednesday’s attack.