Crackdown call after bulldozer rampage

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 25, 2008

An Arab bulldozer driver has gone on the rampage in Jerusalem in the second incident in three weeks, bringing renewed calls for restrictions on the capital’s Palestinian civilians.

Rassan Abu Tir, the 22-year-old driver from South-East Jerusalem, took the bulldozer he was working on at a building site in central Jerusalem on Tuesday. He hit six vehicles on King David Street, including a bus, wounding 24 people — one of them severely — before being shot dead by an armed civilian and a border police officer.

The similarity to the incident three weeks ago on Jaffa Road in which three Israelis were murdered — and the rise in attacks over the last year by Jerusalem-based Palestinians with Israeli citizenship — are raising concerns about security within the “unified capital”. Over the last six months, 14 Israelis have been murdered in five major attacks. David Shriki, a border policeman who was shot at the Old City’s Lion Gate earlier this month, died from his wounds on Wednesday.

“Most of the attackers don’t belong to any Palestinian organisation, and since they work alone and can move around the city freely, we can’t detect them in advance,” a defence source told the JC.

Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin warned this week of “a security vacuum” in East Jerusalem.

Last updated: 5:29pm, July 24 2008