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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, June 24, 2018

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Many injured as suspected Palestinian rams car into Israelis

Suspected Palestinian in disputed Jerusalem city plowed his car

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TEL AVIV, Israel - A suspected Palestinian in disputed Jerusalem city plowed his car into a group of Israelis on Friday, wounding at least seven people, including six policewomen, in what officials said was a "terror attack".

The attacker, indentified as Mohammed Salayma, a resident of the East Jerusalem, was shot at and wounded by police, the officials said.

The incident took place near the entrance of a Border police station close to the light rail station that serves the Old City's Damascus Gate.

Salayma, in his early 20s, drove his car onto the pavement and rammed it into a group of Border Police soldiers, injuring six of them.

He was immediately shot at by members of the Border Police. He came out of the car wielding a knife and injured a pedestrian. Police then shot at him again and wounded him critically.

The seven people wounded in the attack, according to Haaretz newspaper, were evacuated to Hadassah Har Hatzofim Hospital. The attacker was taken to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in a critical condition.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri describing the assault as a "terror attack" said certain attacks like these are difficult to prevent because they appear to be carried out by "lone wolf" assailants.

Moshe Edri, regional police commander, said the "swift and determined response (by police) stopped the attack as it was beginning and prevented more innocents from being injured".

Haaretz citing Israel's internal security service, Shin Bet, said that Salayma was not known to security forces even as he did have a criminal record.

The newspaper citing unnamed "Palestinian sources" said he carried out the attack "in response to social media reports of an attack on Muslim worshippers" in Al Aqsa mosque.

Last year some Palestinians carried out similar attacks on Israelis in the same part of Jerusalem, over the mosque, the city's most sensitive holy site, revered by Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Salayma had uploaded his photo covered in a Palestinian flag on Facebook, with the status, "in the name of Allah and the homeland".

The Jerusalem Post said Shin Bet officials have detained his father and siblings, who were questioned in a Jerusalem police station.

The attack took place as Israelis are celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim. Police said security throughout the city was being beefed up in a bid to reassure people.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said celebrations would carry on as usual. "We will not let terror disrupt our daily routine, and we will fight it without compromise," said. "I invite all residents of the country to celebrate Purim in Jerusalem and to support it."

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