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Driver killed after second Jerusalem 'bulldozer rampage'

July 22, 2008 2:36 P.M. (Updated: July 22, 2008 2:36 P.M.)
Jerusalem - Ma'an - A bulldozer driver was shot dead after he plowed through several cars in West Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, wounding 19 Israelis in an incident similar to an attack earlier in July.

Witnesses said the construction vehicle struck a bus, then overturned one car and crushed four others at the corner of Keren Hayesdod and King David streets, behind the King Solomon hotel. The driver was then shot and killed.

The driver of the bulldozer was identified as 22-year-old Ghassan Abu Teir, from Umm Tuba, in East Jerusalem.

Witnesses said the left window of the cab of the bulldozer was hit by at least eight bullets.

Israeli medical sources report that 19 people were injured. Only one person was seriously injured. The rest were mildly to moderately injured, some treated for shock. Police sealed off the area and ambulances racing to the scene.

The civilian who shot the driver of the bulldozer was Ya'akov Asahel, a 53-year-old resident of the West Bank settlement of Susiya, to the south of Hebron. Asahel is also a platoon commander in the Israeli army as well as one of the first settlers in the southern Hebron hills area.

The incident took place near the Kind David hotel, where US presidential candidate Barack Obama was scheduled to arrive later on Tuesday.

About 50 right-wing Israelis immediately began a demonstration at the site of the incident, chanting slogans in Hebrew and holding a sign reading "Olmert, Bush, and Arafat, accomplices in terror."

On 2 July another construction vehicle driven by a Palestinian man from East Jerusalem overturned a bus and a number of cars in West Jerusalem, killing three people. The driver of the bulldozer in that attack apparently acted alone, and had no known connections to armed Palestinian groups.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack during a press conference after a meeting in Jerusalem with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

"I condemn the attack and as always I wholeheartedly oppose all acts of terror," Abbas said. "I wish to send wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured."

***Updated at 17:58 local time

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