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Bulldozer rams into Jerusalem bus

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Bulldozer rams into Jerusalem bus

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

July 2nd 2008

 

[float=right]amd_bus.jpg

Frayer/AP

Israeli police and medics gather around a

bus after it was rammed and turned over

by a bulldozer in an attack in Jerusalem,

Wednesday.

[/float]JERUSALEM - A Palestinian bulldozer driver plowed into a string of vehicles on a busy Jerusalem street Wednesday, killing two people and wounding dozens of others before he was shot dead by an off-duty soldier, authorities said.

 

The attack wreaked havoc and left a large swath of damage in the heart of downtown Jerusalem. Traffic was halted and hundreds of people fled through the streets in panic as medics treated the wounded.

 

"I saw the bulldozer smash the car with its shovel. He smashed the guy sitting in the driver's seat," said Yaakov Ashkenazi, an 18-year-old seminary student.

 

Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said the bulldozer was driven by an Arab man from east Jerusalem who had a criminal background.

 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Israeli police referred to the attacker as a terrorist. The attack took place in front of a building housing the offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets. A TV camera captured the enormous bulldozer crushing a vehicle and an off-duty soldier killing the perpetrator by shooting him in the head several times at point-blank range as onlookers screamed.

 

At the scene of the attack, a half-dozen cars were flattened and a third was overturned by an enormous Caterpillar tractor. A bus also was overturned and another bus was heavily damaged. Israel's national rescue service confirmed two deaths and the two bodies lay motionless on the ground covered in plastic. Local TV was reporting four dead.

 

A woman sprinkled water over a baby's bloodied face, a rescue worker stroked the hair of a dazed elderly pedestrian and a loved one raised the bleeding leg of a woman sitting outside the overturned bus.

 

Esther Valencia, a 52-year-old pedestrian said she barely escaped the carnage. "He almost hit me. Someone pushed me out of the way at the last moment. It was a miracle that I got out of there."

 

Sixteen-year-old Eyal Lang Ben-Hur was in a bus when the driver yelled out, "Get out of the vehicle! Everyone out!" People fled in a panic, he said, and the bus was hit an instant later.

 

Israel's national rescue service said at 22 people were wounded, with at least 14 people hospitalized.

 

Injured people sat dazed on the ground amid piles of broken glass and blood stains on the street. A baby had blood all over its face, and the driver of the bulldozer was slumped motionless over the steering wheel.

 

"Where's the baby? Where's the baby?" said one distraught man as he ran from the overturned bus.

 

Yosef Spielman, who witnessed the attack, said the bulldozer picked up a car "like a toy."

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