OAN Roy Francis
8:31 AM PT – Saturday, February 11, 2023
A vehicle rammed into a busy bus stop in Israel in what the Israeli government has labeled a terror attack on Friday.
A six-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were killed, and five others were injured when a blue Mazda crashed into the bus stop near the Nebi Samuel site. One of the wounded was a child, the brother of the six-year-old boy who was killed.
The six-year-old was identified as Yaakov Yisrael paley, he was quickly buried Friday afternoon before the start of Shabbat. Recently married, 20-year-old yeshiva student, Alter Shlomo Lederman, was transported to the hospital where he later succumbed to his wounds.
After the attack, several bystanders surrounded the car, police said that the driver was shot dead by a police officer who happened to be on scene.
Israeli citizen, Hussein Qaraqa, 31, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood, Issawiya, was identified as the attacker.
Eyewitness reports state that Qaraqa accelerated into the group of Israelis standing at the bus stop as he approached them. A senior Israeli official stated that it is believed the attacker was mentally ill, and was recently released from a psychiatric hospital in northern Israel.
Police said that ten relatives of the attacker in Issawiya and A-Tur were detained. The relatives included his parents, brother, wife, and his landlord. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the home of the attacker sealed.
Israeli policy states that homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks are to be sealed and demolished. Last month police had welded shut the doors and windows of the attacker who had killed seven people in Jerusalem before demolishing the home.
Qaraqa’s social media pages included posts hailing attacks against Israeli citizens and armed forces, as well as praising the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Zia Nakhaleh. He had also memorialized members of the West Bank’s Lions Dens after some were killed in an Israeli Defense Forces operation. The members who were killed had been responsible for numerous shootings and attacks against Israel.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas terror groups praised the attack but did not claim responsibility for it. A Hamas spokesperson called the attack “a heroic response to the crimes for the occupation.”
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir ordered police to set up roadblocks around Issawiya “as a deterrent.”
“We have to act with determination and aggression to protect our children,” he said.
He also called on police to “prepare plans for Operation Defensive Shield 2 in East Jerusalem.”
“Ben Gvir instructed the police to ready and prepare plans for Operation Defensive Shield 2 in East Jerusalem starting this coming Sunday,” his office said. “To deal with the terror nests in East Jerusalem.”
However, a senior Israeli government official responded to Gvir’s announcement saying that “decisions of such a scale are not made in statements by one minister or another on a sidewalk at the scene of an attack.”
The prime minister will decide on any operation after meeting with the security establishment and his cabinet.
The United Arab Emirates expressed condolences and “strong condemnation of these criminal acts.”
The United Nations’ Mideast envoy Tor Wennesland posted a tweet calling on de-escalation instead of escalation of violence.
“Such horrific attacks and their glorification are fueling an endless cycle of bloodshed and should be condemned by all. Leaders must act responsibly,” he said. “I call upon all concerned parties to protect the prospect for a political solution to the mounting security crises & refrain from unilateral actions that will further aggravate the situation on the ground.”
United States Ambassador Tom Nides also released a statement regarding the attack.
“Incredibly sorrowful news that a vicious terrorist attack has killed a small boy and a young man in Jerusalem today,” he said. “I want to express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and pray for a speedy recovery for the wounded.”