© 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 by a Palestinian driver who rammed his car into a group of people at a bus stop on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli police said.
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.”
The driver, a 31-year-old from East Jerusalem, was shot dead at the scene by officers, police said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the incident as a terrorist attack and ordered security forces to be reinforced, and the U.S. Office of Palestinian affairs said it was working with both sides to prevent escalation.
The ramming occurred during a period of rising anxiety in Israel over security following an attack last month in which a lone Palestinian gunman killed seven people outside a synagogue.
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.
The United Nations, United States, Britain, Germany and other countries condemned Friday’s attack.
“The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians is repugnant and unconscionable,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Hamas, the Palestinian armed Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, praised it as a “heroic operation” but did not claim responsibility.
A six-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were killed. The boy’s eight-year-old brother was critically injured, N12 News said, and four more people were wounded, health officials 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.
Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir was greeted at the scene by angry crowds who surrounded him, some chanting, “Death to terrorists!” He said he has ordered police to prepare plans for operations against what he described as “terrorist hotbeds” in East Jerusalem.
Ten members of the assailant’s family were arrested, police said. Footage showed officers in riot gear leading several handcuffed people from a house.
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.