An Arab terrorist affiliated with Hamas – and related to the terrorist responsible for the 2008 Mercaz Harav massacre – was shot and killed Wednesday morning after driving his vehicle into three Border Police officers in Jerusalem’s a-Tur neighborhood.
According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the attack took place shortly before 10 a.m. when Amran Abu Dhein, 41, of Jebl Mukaber in southeastern Jerusalem, rammed his car into a female and two male officers, who sustained light-to-moderate injuries to their legs and hips.
“What we know is that he is affiliated with Hamas’s military wing and is related to Alaa Abu Dhein, who gunned down eight yeshiva students from the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Kiryat Moshe in March of 2008,” Rosenfeld said.
“The terrorist drove into the officers at a-Tur junction while they were on patrol in the area,” he continued.
“The female officer and one of the males are in satisfactory condition, and the other male officer is in good condition.
They were treated at the scene and evacuated to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem and Shaare Zedek Medical Center.”
Rosenfeld said a fourth officer shot Dhein through the driver’s-side window, leaving him in critical condition.
He died shortly thereafter.
“Multiple police units arrived to cordon off the area and initiated an investigation to determine if the suspect acted alone,” he said.
Shortly after the attack, when police raided Dhein’s home, masked Arabs threw rocks and fireworks at officers, Rosenfeld said.
“Police were able to disperse the rioters using nonlethal means,” he said. “There were no injuries and no arrests were made.”
Israel Radio aired remarks by the driver’s relatives, suggesting the incident was an accident and that he was wrongfully killed. Dhein’s brother said he worked as a vehicular security officer with several Israeli transport companies.
Jerusalem District police Asst.-Ch. Moshe Edri, who arrived at the scene of the attack within minutes, praised the officer for neutralizing Dhein without losing any more lives.
“The Border Police officers acted as was expected of them, neutralized the terrorist and prevented further harm to innocent people,” he said.
Following the attack, President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement emphasizing the importance of confronting terrorism, while condemning a government proposal to segregate bus lines between Jews and Arabs in the capital.
“This morning, as we witnessed the terrorist attack in Jerusalem, we received a painful reminder of the complex security situation Israel faces and the price we pay for our basic principles,” he said.
“We must confront terrorism firmly while defending our democratic values as a country and as a people.”
Rivlin said he spoke Wednesday morning with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to discuss the importance of suspending the busing proposal, which he said would have further exacerbated tensions.
“I welcomed stopping the process that could have led to an unthinkable separation between bus lines for Jews and Arabs,” Rivlin said of the halted measure.
“As one who loves the Land of Israel, I have nothing but regret for the discordant voices we heard this morning supporting the separation between Jews and Arabs on the basis of ideas that have no place being heard or said.”
Rivlin added that the proposal goes “against the very foundations of the State of Israel and impact upon our very ability to establish a Jewish and democratic state here.”
“Such statements cause great damage to the State of Israel and to the settlement movement,” he said. “It is important that we remember that our sovereignty obligates us to prove our ability to live side by side.”
Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat issued a statement condemning the attack and praising the Border Police officer’s quick response.
“Terrorism cannot disrupt the routine of our lives, and we will continue to fight without compromise,” he said.
Barkat continued: “Our answer to terrorism is to continue our routine and continue living in Jerusalem.”
Rosenfeld said security has been markedly heightened throughout the capital since the attack with increased patrols on the light rail and all public areas.