Arab youths shatter tour bus’s windows near Mount of Olives

Witness says "people began to scream and panic"; young girl on bus narrowly escapes injury when window shatters.

tourists visit mt. of olives 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
tourists visit mt. of olives 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian youths threw rocks at a tour bus near the Mount of Olives Monday night, shattering one of the bus’s windows and lightly wounding a young girl.
The bus’s 54 passengers were members of the Ashkelon branch of the Zionist Council in Israel’s Eshkolot Project, who were participating in a traditional High Holy Days pilgrimage.
According to passenger Yossi Cohen, the group’s coordinator, the youths launched the rocks at approximately 8:15 p.m., when the bus passed Ammunition Hill and turned toward the entrance of the Mount of Olives to visit an observation point.
“We heard a boom, and a few seconds later, we realized what it was,” said Cohen on Tuesday. “People began to scream and panic, and we saw one pane [of glass] just shatter.”
The window that shattered was next to the young girl’s seat, leaving her with light injuries.
After initially slowing down to determine what had transpired, the driver then sped up until the bus was in a safe area before calling police, who arrived within minutes, Cohen recounted.
“There was a lot of panic, and the police calmed everyone down,” he said.
Following a group discussion, it was decided that the passengers would continue their tour to the Western Wall to recite Selihot (the penitential poems and prayers read in the period leading up to Yom Kippur). Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed the attack on Tuesday, stating that it had been one of “several stone-throwing incidents” in the area on Monday.
“Police deal with this almost daily in and around different Arab neighborhoods,” he said.
Although the Committee for Protection of the Mount of Olives said Tuesday that such attacks had ebbed in recent months, it emphasized that there was still much to work to do to ensure safety.
The organization is demanding the establishment of a police station in the area with 24-hour surveillance to prevent future attacks.