A Palestinian man rammed a construction vehicle into three cars and a city bus in downtown Jerusalem, near the luxury hotel where U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama is to stay Tuesday night as he kicks off a visit to Israel. The attacker injured five people before an Israeli civilian shot and killed him, police and witnesses said.

The attack was similar to another rampage earlier this month, when another Palestinian plowed his front-end loader into a string of vehicles and pedestrians on a bustling Jerusalem street 3 miles away, killing three people and wounding dozens before the driver was shot and killed.

Click here to view photos of the attack.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. And Obama, speaking from Jordan hours before he is to arrive in Israel, deplored it as "a reminder of what Israelis have courageously lived with on a daily basis for far too long."

"I will always support Israel in confronting terrorism and pursuing everlasting peace and security," Obama said.

Police identified the perpetrator of Tuesday's attack as 22-year-old Ghassan Abu Teir, an east Jerusalem resident related to a militantly anti-Israel politician from the Islamic Hamas party, Mohammed Abu Teir.

The assault turned the busy area into a scene of panic and chaos.

The driver of the bus said the assailant chased him with the shovel of his front-end loader.

"I was driving on the main road when the (construction vehicle) hit me in the rear, on the right hand side," driver Avi Levi said.

"After I passed him he turned round, made a U-turn and rammed the windows twice with the shovel. The third time he aimed for my head, he came up to my window and I swerved to the right, otherwise I would have gone to meet my maker," Levi said.

Witness Moshe Shimshi said the driver of the construction vehicle, who was wearing a large, white skullcap commonly worn by religious Muslims, slammed into the side of the bus, then sped away and went for a car.

He didn't yell anything, he just kept ramming into cars," Shimshi said.

The driver then headed for cars waiting at a red light "and rammed into them with all his might," he added.

Shimshi said he stopped his motorcycle and ran toward the construction vehicle when he saw another man running at it from another direction.

The man, a civilian, began firing a pistol "two or three meters from the bulldozer, which was moving back and forth ramming into the cars the whole time," Shimshi added. "After a few shots, I saw the driver shake and fall, and then he didn't move any more."

Jerusalem police chief Aharon Franco said a border police officer then arrived and shot at the driver "to make sure he was killed." In the attack earlier this month, the assailant was shot and presumed dead — only to revive and carry on with his attack before being shot dead.

The rampage Tuesday was cut short about 500 feet (160 yards) from where it was launched, Franco said.

"Unfortunately, it is clear that we as a society will have to remain vigilant against terrorism," said government spokesman Mark Regev.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. And Obama, speaking from Jordan hours before he is to arrive in Israel, deplored it as "a reminder of what Israelis have courageously lived with on a daily basis for far too long."

"I will always support Israel in confronting terrorism and pursuing everlasting peace and security," Obama said.

Minutes after the attack began, the assailant, wearing shorts and black shoes, was sprawled backward in the construction vehicle's cabin, his legs dangling lifelessly. At least 20 bullet hotels pierced the front-end loader.

A sedan nearby had been struck from the rear and crashed into a utility vehicle. The driver's side of a compact car had been smashed, and its hood and engine crushed. Another sedan was overturned on the sidewalk.

Fire trucks massed at the scene, where the smell of gas — possibly from a punctured gas tank — wafted. Sirens wailed in the background, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.

Israeli rescue services said they evacuated one person whose leg was partially severed, and two mothers and two babies who were slightly injured.

Police sealed off possible escape routes into predominantly Arab east Jerusalem and were searching for two suspects who fled the scene, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski was in the area when he heard a commotion and rushed over to the scene.

"They keep on inventing ways to attack us," he said. "Every work tool has become a weapon."

Relatives said Abu Teir did not belong to a radical faction, and had worked on construction vehicles for the past seven years.

The attack raised tensions between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem, the city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinians from east Jerusalem have carried out the three major attacks that have taken place in Jerusalem this year. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter demanded that the latest attacker's house be razed, raising concerns about the already precarious standing of Jerusalem's Arab residents.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in 1967, along with the West Bank, and annexed it. The 208,000 Palestinians who live there make up less than a third of the city's population. They are not Israeli citizens but carry Israeli ID cards that allow them freedom of movement throughout Israel, unlike West Bank Palestinians. Many east Jerusalem Palestinians work in construction in the Jewish parts of the city.