Tel Aviv rampage truck driver arraigned

Suspect’s lawyer insists it wasn’t a terror attack; one person killed, 17 wounded during incident in South Tel Aviv on Nakba Day.

May 17, 2011 04:41
2 minute read.
A wrecked car on Bar Lev Street, Tel Aviv.

tel aviv truck rampage_311. (photo credit: Yoel Miller)

The truck driver from Kafr Kasim who allegedly carried out a lethal lone-wolf terror rampage with his vehicle in south Tel Aviv on Sunday was ordered to remain in custody for eight days by the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court.

Monday’s arraignment hearing was held behind closed doors, and a ban is in effect preventing publication of the 22- year-old’s image and name.

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The real reason behind 'Nakba Day'

One person was killed in his car and 17 others were wounded during the incident on Tel Aviv’s Rehov Bar-Lev, which took place on Nakba Day, a day commemorated by Arabs as “Catastrophe Day,” the day the state of Israel was declared.

The driver is suspected of murder, attempted murder, causing bodily harm and endangering lives on the road.

Eyewitnesses who saw the truck crash into several cars before ploughing into a bus in the oncoming lane outside of an elementary school told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the driver deliberately smashed into his targets along a long stretch of the busy road.

Hebrew media quoted witnesses who said they heard the driver scream, “Allahu Akbar,” and saw him, after his truck came to a stop, pick up a piece of debris and hit a woman who came to provide assistance over the head.

But the suspect’s mother, who arrived at the court, told Channel 2 news on Monday, “You’re only saying he carried out a terrorist attack because he is an Arab. This was an accident. He works with Israelis and Jews... My son is not like that.”

The mother accused one female eyewitness of “lying because she doesn't like Arabs. She is a liar. You can see on TV that this was an accident. He lost control of the steering wheel. The tire exploded.”

The suspect is being represented by attorney Mofid Badir, who described the incident as “tragic,” and expressed his condolences to the relatives of the dead man, 29-year-old Aviv Morag from Givatayim.

The suspect’s lawyer told Channel 2 that the several collisions were “an innocent accident. The timing was simply wrong. He didn't yell ‘Allahu Akbar.’”

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Badir said he has hired a traffic safety expert to examine the findings from the crash investigation.

Police continue to refrain from describing the incident as a terrorist attack, and say that the investigation is ongoing.

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