Jerusalem attacker ‘scorned’ by girlfriend

By Yaakov Katz, September 26, 2008

Defence Minister Ehud Barak has urged the Justice Ministry to expedite the legal process necessary to approve the demolition of the home of an East Jerusalem man who rammed a car into a group of soldiers in Jerusalem this week.

Kasem Mugrabi, 19, from the Jabel Mukaber neighbourhood, slammed his black BMW into a group of soldiers late on Monday night in Zahal Square, just north of the Old City walls. He wounded 17 people before being shot dead by the soldiers' commander, Lt Elad Amar.

"The driver rammed into all of the soldiers that were standing there and then crashed into a building," Lt Amar recalled. "I then did exactly what I was trained to do and ran to the car and shot him before he could reverse and try to run over more people."

It was the third such incident in the city in as many months. In July, a resident of East Jerusalem carried out a bulldozer attack, killing three people before being shot by security personnel. A copycat incident followed two weeks later.

Jerusalem police said that it was likely that Mugrabi had acted alone and that on the day of the attack he had been scorned by his girlfriend.

"Immediate action is required on the legal level to cut the time it takes to receive approval to demolish terrorists' homes," Mr Barak said. "This will contribute to deterring potential terrorists."

Defence officials said that when dealing with lone attackers it was almost impossible to obtain intelligence prior to the attack. They pointed to the fact that the two homes of the men behind the previous bulldozer attacks have yet to be demolished.

They also referred to a rise in the number of East Jerusalem residents involved in attacks. Since the beginning of 2008, 71 East Jerusalem Arabs have been arrested as terror suspects in comparison to 37 in 2007 and nine in 2005.


Last updated: 3:53pm, September 25 2008