Jerusalem bulldozer attack: Wikis


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Jerusalem bulldozer attack

Location Jerusalem, Israel
Date July 2, 2008
11:55am – 12:10pm (UTC+3)
Target Israeli civilians
Attack type Vehicle attack
Death(s) 4 (Including perpetrator)[1]
Injured 30+[1]
Perpetrator Hussam Taysir Duwai

The Jerusalem bulldozer attack occurred on July 2, 2008, when an Arab resident of east Jerusalem identified as Hussam Taysir Duwait (also referred to as Hussam Duwiyat[2], Hossam Dawyyat[3], or erroneously as Jabr Duwait[4]), attacked several cars on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, Israel using a front-end loader (erroneously referred to as a bulldozer in the media[5]), killing three people and wounding at least thirty other pedestrians, before being shot to death.[2][6] Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said that an inquiry indicated the attacker had been acting alone.[7] A motive for the attack could not immediately be determined, but police at the scene referred to the incident as a terrorist attack.[5] Three copycat attacks have occurred since then.

This attack marks the second incident in 2008 in which an Arab from east Jerusalem using his Israeli ID Card (allowing for freedom of movement and travel throughout Israel) committed a violent act in west Jerusalem[8] the first being the Mercaz HaRav massacre in early March 2008.



Preliminary investigations suggest the Caterpillar 966 front-end loader was taken from a nearby construction site on Jaffa Road. The perpetrator then drove the vehicle against traffic, before hitting an Egged public bus near the city's old Central Bus Station. The impact flipped the bus onto its side, hitting nearby vehicles and pedestrians.[9] The perpetrator, Hussam Taysir Duwait, was also heard yelling "Allahu Akbar" during the attack.[8] After a traffic policewoman had shot the driver, the vehicle came to a halt but then started again and crushed another car, killing another person.[2]

Location of attack on Jaffa Road

The following moments, during which the perpetrator was shot and killed have been filmed from at least two different angles,[10] which accounts for the greater level of directly available descriptive detail in comparison to the original attack which is documented only through eyewitnesses on the scene as well as images that were taken mostly after the incident itself.

At the point when the vehicle had stopped for the first time, three men had climbed up to the cabin: A 20-year old off-duty soldier from Jerusalem who had recently enlisted at the Israel Defense Forces and whose name has been published as "Moshe Plesser,"[4][11] armed civilian Oron Ben Shimon, who is a regional manager of a security firm, as well as an unnamed policeman.[12] According to Oron, while he was struggling with the driver inside the cabin, trying to get his feet off the accelerator and take over the wheel, he shouted at the soldier to shoot the driver.[12] The soldier then grabbed Oron's handgun and killed Duwait with three shots to the head at point blank range.[9][13] After the vehicle had immediately come to a halt again, motorcycle policeman Eli Mizrahi climbed the cabin and fired two more shots.[9][14] One witness is quoted as saying that Duwait was armed and 'shooting at a police officer'.[15]

Haaretz quotes the soldier as saying that "I got closer to the bulldozer, the whole time looking for my weapon to shoot him."[9] Coincidentally, the soldier is the brother-in-law of Captain David Shapira, the paratrooper officer who shot and killed the perpetrator in the Mercaz HaRav massacre.[12]


The victims in the attack were two women, Bat Sheva Unterman and Elizabeth Goren-Friedman, and a man, Jean Raloy.

  • Mrs. Unterman, a kindergarten teacher, and the wife of Ido Unterman, grandson of former Chief rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman, was in her car at the scene of the attack. Her 6-month-old daughter was pulled from the car just before it was hit.[2]
  • Originally of Austria, Elizabeth Goren-Friedman worked as a teacher in a school for the blind.[2]
  • Jean Raloy, an air-conditioner technician who lived in the Gilo neighborhood, was the third person killed.[2]


Hussam Taysir Duwait

Israeli authorities are labeling it a terrorist attack, although they say there is no clear motive, the perpetrator acted alone, and it is not known if he had links to any terrorist organization."[5]

Three Palestinian organizations took responsibility for the attack: the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the Galilee Freedom Battalion (Hebrew: גדודי חופשיי הגליל‎), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Despite the Palestinian claims of responsibility, Israeli police chief Dudi Cohen said the attacker appeared to be acting alone and that "it looks as if it was a spontaneous act."[14]

Some two hours after the attack, a Hamas spokesman said that the attack is "a natural response to Israeli aggression." Nevertheless, he stressed that Hamas did not know who was behind the attack.[16]

Shimon Kokos, the lawyer of the perpetrator's family, said that Hussam "had not belonged to any militant organization and may have acted out of temporary insanity" and that, "had [he] not been killed during his rampage, it is doubtful whether he would have been judged fit to stand trial."[17]

A Jewish ex-girlfriend of Duwait, commented that "he really didn't hate Jews. The fact is that he was with me. It's insanity, but the motivation was not nationalist" and also that his bad temper may have been related to his "[smoking] a lot of drugs."[18] Other people have gone on the record as well alleging regular drug abuse by Duwait, one neighbour saying that he was "a drug addict [...]. He'd shoot up all the time. [...] He was really just a junkie."[19]

The perpetrator, a 32-year-old father of two from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sur Baher, was carrying an Israeli identity card, being hired by a local construction firm for the Jerusalem Light Rail.[5]

"My son never spoke of plans to carry out such an attack, if he had I would have tried to prevent it," Duwait's father, Tayseer told The Media Line as police officers were about to question him.[20]


Israeli Border Guard officers ordered the Dawiyat family of the Arab neighborhood of Sur Baher in Jerusalem to remove the mourning tent they erected in the neighborhood for their son. A Border Guard patrol passing through the area identified the construction of the tent and ordered the family to remove it. The family then disassembled the tent without any noted resistance.[21][22]


Bulldozer attack of July 22

On July 22, another east Jerusalem Arab resident, Ghassan Abu Tir, rammed his bulldozer into cars and a bus on King David street in Jerusalem. He injured 24 and destroyed a bus and five cars before being shot dead by a motorist and a policeman. The attack was seen as a copycat act of to the July 2 attack, causing fears of repeated copycat acts in an emerging new terrorist tactic.[23][24] The attack happened just down the road from the hotel where Barack Obama was due to stay at for his Democrat world tour.[25]

BMW attack

On September 22, 2008, a resident of East drove a black BMW into a group of off-duty soldiers standing on a Jerusalem street injuring 19.[26][27] Police spokesman asserted the event was a terrorist attack, not an accident.[28]

5 March 2009 attack

Two police officers were lightly wounded in Jerusalem when an Arab bulldozer driver overturned their police car and rammed it into a bus, before being shot by police and a taxi driver. He later died of his wounds. The attack occurred around 1 P.M. near the Malha shopping mall, on Menachem Begin Boulevard in southern Jerusalem. Police said that a copy of the Koran had been found in the bulldozer after the attack, and that the driver had not been carrying any identification. Israel Police and local residents later identified the man as Marei Radaydeh, a West Bank construction worker in his mid-20s who lived with his family in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Radaydeh was married and had a daughter. Hamas praised the attack, calling it a "natural response" to Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in Arab East Jerusalem and to Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip..[29]


  • Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General expressed condolences to the relatives of the dead victims, and wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured.[30]
  • Israeli human rights group B'Tselem released a statement condemning the attack, adding that "Attacks aimed at civilians are immoral, inhuman, and illegal. Intentional killing of civilians is a grave breach of international humanitarian law and is considered a war crime that can never be justified, whatever the circumstances may be."[31]
  • President of Israel, Shimon Peres expressed pride in the speedy actions of the soldier who fired at and killed the attacker.[32]
  • According to an Al Jazeera report, the mother of the perpetrator was "crying out on the rooftop of their home, calling her son a martyr."[33]
  • President of the United States, George W. Bush spoke over the phone with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert to express his condolences with the people of Israel, for the "murderous terrorist attack."[33]
  • Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert mentioned that "There is no way to fence-off the Arabs of east Jerusalem and every home of a potential terrorist," and that "We need to stop the terror attacks carried out by east Jerusalem Arabs, and if that must be done through means of deterrence or the demolition of a home – then so be it."[34] B'Tselem has condemned the plans as "illegal collective punishment."[35]
  • British Foreign Secretary David Miliband condemned the attack, calling it a "horrific act."[36]
  • According to MEMRI, in July 5, 2008. Al-Jazeera TV dedicated a program to Dalal Al-Maghrabi, one of the pepetrators of the Coastal Road massacre. In the program, Al-Maghrabis' sister, Rashida, "saluted the soul" of Hussam Taysir Duwait (name transcribed as Husam Dweidat) calling him a "hero" and a "martyr".[37]

See also


  1. ^ a b Kershner, Isabel; Cowell, Alan. "Construction Vehicle Kills 3 in Israel Attack". The New York Times.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Two teachers among the dead in Jerusalem attack". Haaretz. 2008-07-03.  
  3. ^ "Olmert, Barak: Demolish terrorists' homes". Ynet. 07.02.08.,7340,L-3563167,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  4. ^ a b "Three dead in terror attack". 2 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  5. ^ a b c d "Jerusalem bulldozer 'terrorist' kills 3 in rampage". CNN (via WUSA). 2008-07-02. Retrieved 2009-06-16.  
  6. ^ "3 killed as Palestinian bulldozer driver goes on killing spree in Jerusalem". Ynetnews. 2008-07-02.,7340,L-3562991,00.html.  
  7. ^ "Deadly Jerusalem bulldozer attack". BBC. 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  8. ^ a b "'He cried Allah Akhbar and hit the gas'". Jpost. 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-07-03.  
  9. ^ a b c d "At least four dead, dozens hurt in Jerusalem terror attack". Haaretz. 2008-07-02.  
  10. ^ "Dramatic video of attacker's killing". Reuters. July 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-03.  
  11. ^ Klein, Aaron (July 3, 2008). "Hero was rejected from military for protesting Gaza retreat". WorldNetDaily. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  12. ^ a b c Azoulay, Yuval; Jonathan Lis and Nadav Shragai (July 3, 2008). "Young recruit left his bike, felled bulldozer terrorist". Haaretz. Retrieved 2008-07-03.  
  13. ^ "Policeman shoots and kills Jerusalem terrorist during rampage". Haaretz. 02/07/2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  14. ^ a b "Bulldozer plows into cars, buses in Jerusalem". MSNBC. 2008-07-02.  
  15. ^ "Jerusalem bus driver: Terrorist looked me in the eye and drove at me". Haaretz Service and News Agencies. 02/07/2008. Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  16. ^ "Palestinian kills 3 in Jerusalem bulldozer attack". Reuters. 2008-07-02.  
  17. ^ "Bulldozer killer may have been temporarily insane: lawyer". July 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  18. ^ Friedman, Matti (July 4, 2008). "Jerusalem Attacker Had Jewish Girlfriend". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  19. ^ Issacharoff, Avi; Amos Harel. "A junkie and a martyr". Haaretz. Retrieved 2008-07-05.  
  20. ^ "Bulldozer driver shot dead after going on rampage in capital". The Jerusalem Post. 2008-07-02.  
  21. ^ "Police Order Terrorist’s Family to Remove Tent". Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  22. ^ "Terrorist's mourning tent dismantled". The Jerusalem Post. July 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  23. ^ Copans, Laurie (July 22, 2008). "Palestinian in construction truck rams cars". AP. SFGate. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  24. ^ "Israelis hit by new digger attack". 22 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  25. ^ Harrison, Rebecca (July 23, 2008). "Bulldozer in Jerusalem rampage before Obama visit". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-07-25.  
  26. ^ Lefkovits, Etgar (September 22, 2008). "'J'lem terrorist was a Hamas member'". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  27. ^ Lis, Jonathan. "Terrorist in car rams 19 in J'lem". Haaretz. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  28. ^ Kershner, Isabel (September 22, 2008). "Palestinian Car Rams Israelis". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  29. ^ "Two policemen hurt in bulldozer terror attack in Jerusalem". Haaretz. 3 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  30. ^ "Ban Ki-Moon Expresses Condolences". Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  31. ^ "Three Israeli civilians killed by a Palestinian in Jerusalem's center". B'Tselem. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  32. ^ "Peres: I was Proud of the Soldier Who Fired". Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  33. ^ a b "Bulldozer rampage in Jerusalem". Al Jazeera. 2 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  34. ^ "Olmert: We can't fence-off east Jerusalem Arabs".,7340,L-3563364,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  35. ^ "Israel to destroy attacker's home". 4 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  
  36. ^ Benhorin, Yitzhak (July 2, 2008). "Israel demands UN condemnation of attack". Ynetnews.,7340,L-3563334,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-19.  
  37. ^ ""In an Al-Jazeera TV Program on Palestinian Terrorist Dalal Al-Mughrabi, Al-Mughrabi's Sister Salutes Jerusalem Bulldozer Terrorist"" (in English). MEMRI. Retrieved 2008-08-14.  

Coordinates: 31°47′18″N 35°12′23″E / 31.7883°N 35.2064°E / 31.7883; 35.2064


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