tel aviv truck rampage_311.
(photo credit: Yoel Miller)
A young truck driver from the Arab town of Kafr Kasim caused terrifying
destruction in south Tel Aviv on Sunday morning after ramming his truck into
several vehicles on Rehov Bar-Lev, in what police suspect to be a “lonewolf
terror attack” that killed one man and injured 17 others.
A number of
eyewitnesses said they heard the driver shout “Allahu Akbar!” as he drove the
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“Based on the level of destruction... it looks as if this was
deliberate – but the investigation is still ongoing,” police spokesman Micky
Rosenfeld said from the scene.
The driver later claimed during
questioning that he lost control after experiencing a punctured tire, though his
claim is being treated with skepticism by police. Nevertheless, police have
refrained from officially declaring the incident a terror attack, as of Sunday night.
The 20-ton Volvo truck,
driven by the 22-year-old man, who cannot be named due to a court-ordered media
ban, departed Kafr Kasim on Sunday morning and entered Tel Aviv via Route 4,
driving through the Mesubim Junction.
As the driver approached the
Hatikva neighborhood, he struck and ran over several cars, including a blue
Volkswagen car driven by 29-yearold Aviv Morag, who was killed
Morag, of Givatayim, was on the phone with his father, David,
when the conversation abruptly ended, his stunned father said. He only learned
of his son’s fate later, after being contacted by a bystander who called a
business number that was advertised on the vehicle.
The truck driver
continued on, smashing into a black jeep, a white Fiat car, flattening a road
sign, and striking other vehicles, before suddenly swerving into the opposite
lane, running over a moped – seconds after its driver leapt off – then finally
smashing sideways into an Egged bus, that just dropped off its last
The two badly damaged vehicles came to a stop side by side,
showering the pavement with glass and debris, and denting a gate outside the
Eliyahu Golomb elementary school, where terrified pupils gathered around
“Suddenly I saw this truck driving fast in my direction, running
over cars. As it approached me, I jumped out of my seat and hit the bus floor,”
the bus driver, Meir Levi, told Channel 2 news from his hospital bed.
exited the bus, and so did the truck driver. He hit someone with a piece of
wreckage. I shouted out, ‘This is a terrorist!’ People then got a hold of
him,” Levi recounted.
A passerby named Arik Levi told Israel Radio he
initially thought the driver had just lost control of his brakes, and approached
the truck to offer the man his assistance.
Levi said he ran up to the
driver and the two struggled for a short time, before police arrived at the
scene and arrested the suspect, whisking him away from a crowd of furious local
residents to the Yiftah Police Station.
Relatives of the driver denied
that the incident was terrorism-related, saying it was a standard accident, and
that the driver had no links to terrorist organizations.
The suspect has
been working as a truck driver for six years, relatives said.