Monday, December 14, 2015

14-Dec-15: Jerusalem transit hub again the target of vehicle-armed terrorist

Jerusalem's Herzl Boulevard via Google Maps/Street View: The attack was launched at people standing on the right, behind the buses. The Central Bus Station is 200 meters straight ahead
A Palestinian Arab identified as being from Jerusalem this afternoon plowed the car he was driving, a white Mazda sedan, into a crowd of commuters at a cluster of bus stops near the city's Central Bus Station and a hundred meters from the landmark Bridge of Chords at Jerusalem's main entrance.

It's reported that fourteen people are injured in this latest in a lengthy string of Arab-on-Israeli vehicle-ramming terror attacks, almost all them (like today's) directed specifically at civilians. This afternoon's Jerusalem victims include a toddler of 15 months, and a female in her seventies. Three victims are described as suffering moderate injuries; the injuries of the remainder are said to be light.

Though the toddler is reported as having injuries defined as moderate, they're not so moderate:
A one and a half-year-old baby [sic - we now know he is only 15 months old], who was moderately wounded and suffering an injury to his leg, was initially taken to Sha'are Zedek and later transferred to Hadassah in an effort to save his leg, where his condition deteriorated. [Ynet, December 14, 2015]
Times of Israel, in an evening update ["Doctors fight to save foot of baby hurt in terror attack"], says
Doctors at two main Jerusalem hospitals fought Monday afternoon to save the foot of a baby boy wounded a short time earlier... Speaking to Channel 2 television from Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where the boy was initially treated, one of the doctors there said there was a small chance of saving the 18-month-old baby’s foot. [Times of Israel, December 14, 2015]
The attacker, Abed el-Muhsen Hassuna [عبد المحسن حسونة], was 21 years old, and lived in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood of north Jerusalem. (Haaretz transliterates his name as Abed Almohsin Hassoneh.) Acting quickly in the spirit of these difficult, terror-infected times, and in accordance with orders that have wide support in this beleagured country, security personnel stationed nearby, as well as at least one armed civilian, shot him dead as he tried to exit the car.

Not so incidentally: a young woman with the same surname was killed by fast-reacting IDF shooters two weeks ago ["01-Dec-15: Tuesday's Arab-on-Israeli violence continued"] at a checkpoint next to the Einav community in the Samaria district. She was stopped in the act of carrying out a terror attack against Israelis. Times of Israel named her at the time as Maram Ramiz Hassouna, aged just 19, from Nablus.

Moments after the bus-stop vehicle-ramming terror attack [Image Source]
Inside today's attack vehicle, security people found an unused axe and a new screwdriver. Observers are in little doubt as to the would-be killer's lethal intentions:
Jerusalem District Police Chief Moshe Edri hailed the three shooters who brought the incident to an end. “Their quick and accurate action, which neutralized the terrorist, prevented a more serious attack,” he said. [Times of Israel, December 14, 2015
It's possible security cameras will have captured the attack which happened at the start of the afternoon rush hour, around 3:00 pm. For now, we know this, that Hassuna drove his car at high speed and very deliberately onto the sidewalk, smashing into pedestrians at one of several side-by-side bus stops on busy Herzl Boulevard just before the point where it meets the Central Bus Station and beside the city's International Conference Center (known locally as Binyanei Ha'uma). The attack car smashed a fire hydrant, sending a plume of water shooting into the air.

The Transport Ministry announced just yesterday that because of
the ongoing threat of terrorism in the nation’s capital, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz on Sunday approved the deployment of 300 additional security guards for Jerusalem’s public transport... The guards and a number of security vehicles will be sent out to bus stops and Jerusalem Light Rail stops throughout the city. “The very deployment and correct use of the guards can bring the threat to a minimum and even prevent it,” Katz said. In the first few weeks of the ongoing violence, a similar group of guards and IDF soldiers were sent to protect Jerusalem’s public transportation system, but they were eventually taken off that duty. Now, however, they will return. The guards, all former combat soldiers, will be given uniforms, pistols and radios in order to protect passengers. They will also be given legal permission to conduct searches of those they determine to be potential security risks... [Times of Israel, December 13, 2015]
The European-funded Ma'an News Agency reporting from Bethlehem neatly prioritizes the victimhood of the cowardly vehicle-on-people attack via a headline that continues Ma'an's practice of self-parody:
"Palestinian shot dead, 11 injured in Jerusalem car ramming attack" [Ma'an, December 14, 2015].
The Arabic version of the same Ma'an story uses the word "martyr" to describe the man who drive his car into a defenseless crowd. But note that the English version cleverly adds this:
PLO Central Council member Muhammad Eshteyyah in a press conference last week said that 85 percent of Palestinian deaths to take place since Oct. 1 could have been prevented if the [Israeli] “shoot-to-kill” policy was not implemented.
Ma'an's highly ideological editors however are characteristically silent about how many lives might have been saved on both the attacker side and the victim side if the murder-lusting Palestinian Authority leadership discontinued its practice of praising the rammers, shooters and stabbers and stopped elevating them to "martyr" status.

The family and connections of Abed el-Muhsen Hassuna can be confident tonight that, as we write these lines, his promotion to the Palestinian Arab Hall of Fame is assured. If we see some of the expected wall posters praising his "bravery" and "national achievement", we will add them here.

UPDATE Tuesday December 15, 2015: The Jerusalem Post, quoting an un-named official source this morning, says the efforts to save the leg of the hospitalized fifteen month old victim we mentioned above have failed. And Hamas has claimed the attacker as one of theirs. The martyr posters are already up.

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