The site of a suspected ramming attack in Israel's northern city of Acre..
(photo credit: UNITED HATZALAH)
Two IDF soldiers, a border policeman and an Israeli civilian were lightly-to-moderately wounded in a vehicular ramming attack in the northern city of Acre before the Arab-Israeli driver was shot and wounded on Sunday morning.
According to police, the driver of a jeep ran over a border policeman, then hit and wounded two soldiers and a civilian near the Acre city market and the train station.
Unconfirmed reports said that the driver was stopped after being shot several times by the wounded border policeman. The driver was reported to be critically wounded from the gunshots.
Shortly after the incident, witnesses said the driver became angry after he received a parking ticket and then ran over his victims.
“The driver got a ticket for NIS 1,000 [$290] for parking in a handicapped spot. He got pissed off and went up on the sidewalk, then struck a traffic light and some bushes and ran over a border guard,” eyewitness Shimon Cohen said, according to the Ynet news site.
The police later labeled the ramming a terrorist attack of nationalistic motivations carried out by an Israeli Arab. Police placed a gag order on additional details of the incident as the investigation continues.
“This is an extremely serious incident,” said Acre Police Ch.-Supt. Yaniv Ronen. He added: “The identity of the driver is known and we are also looking into that.” Unconfirmed reports in Hebrew media stated that the driver was a man from the town of Shfaram.
Video taken by a bystander from outside the market where the border police officer was hit showed the jeep being driven into the curb and hitting the officer. It then shows the driver turning around, in what was a possible attempt to hit the officer again. The driver is then seen fleeing the scene as the police arrive and as the wounded officer receives help from bystanders.
Separate security camera video showed the jeep accelerating before it struck the soldier, who can be seen flying through the air as the jeep drives off.
Magen David Adom evacuated the lightly injured soldiers, both of whom are in their early 20s, to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya.
“When I arrived at the scene together with other first response volunteers... I found a driver who was critically injured after having suffered multiple gunshots wounds,” said Shai Markovitz, a volunteer emergency medical technician with United Hatzalah who was among the first at the scene.
MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union), who lives in Acre, said the city “has always been an example of a strong, values-based city where coexistence and strong neighborly ties exist between its Jewish and Arab residents.”
Bahloul wished a speedy recovery to those who were injured and said he “hopes and believes that the police investigation will reveal that this was not a deliberate terrorist attack. I call upon all the residents of the city to maintain restraint and patience... Even in difficult times, we in Acre know how to join together to preserve the common fabric of life.”