At least one person has died and 13 others have been injured after a Palestinian man rammed a car into a crowd on a light rail platform in east Jerusalem Wednesday in what Israeli police describe as a terror attack.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that police shot and killed the driver of the car. The driver slammed his car into the train platform in east Jerusalem first, backed out and proceeded to drive away, hitting several cars along the way, according to authorities. He then got out of the car and attacked a group of civilians and police officers on the side of the road with a metal bar before he was shot and killed.
Fox News has confirmed with Israeli officials that there was at least one fatality and three other injuries, while The Times of Israel, citing paramedics, reported that two other people were moderately injured.
The incident was the second attack in Jerusalem involving a car running over people in two weeks. On Oct. 22, a Palestinian driver plowed his car into a crowd of people near a light rail station, killing two people, including a three-year-old girl.
Israeli police said "one person was killed and about a dozen people were injured in the terror attack."
Police said the 38-year-old Palestinian driver, identified as Ibrahim al-Akri, had recently been released from prison after serving time for security offenses.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility by any Palestinian organization but the Islamic militant group Hamas welcomed the attack.
"We praise this heroic operation," said Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum. "We call for more such ... operations."
Israel's Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Ahronovich said civilians and police officers were among the wounded. He praised the police officer who neutralized the Palestinian attacker, saying that "a terrorist who attacks civilians deserves to be killed."
Wednesday's car attack came shortly after clashes in the Old City, where Palestinians threw rocks and firecrackers at police to protest a planned visit to a key holy site by Israeli supporters of a right-wing activist who was shot by a Palestinian gunman last week.
The Israelis had planned on commemorating a week since a Palestinian shot and wounded American-Israeli activist Yehuda Glick, who has campaigned for more Jewish access to the location, which is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Palestinians view such visits as a provocation and often respond violently.
Several police officers were hurt in the clashes, said Rosenfeld, adding that the police used stun grenades to disperse the Palestinians. Quiet was soon restored, he said.
Palestinian protesters and Israeli police have clashed almost daily in east Jerusalem in recent months, with much of the unrest focused around a sacred compound revered by both Jews and Muslims. It's the holiest site for Jews, who call it the Temple Mount because of the revered Jewish Temples that stood there in biblical times. Muslims refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary, and it is their third holiest site, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Glick, a leading voice in a campaign to expand Jewish prayer rights on the hilltop complex, was wounded a week ago when a Palestinian gunman on a motorcycle opened fire at him as he left a conference in Jerusalem.
Muslim worshippers view Jewish prayer at the site as a provocation, and Israeli authorities place tough restrictions on it. Everyone visiting the area from the Israeli side has to be screened by police.
East Jerusalem has experienced unrest since the summer, with Palestinian youths throwing stones and firebombs at motorists and clashing frequently with Israeli police. The violence gained steam last month, when a Palestinian motorist rammed his car into a crowded train station, killing a 3-month-old Israeli-American girl and a woman from Ecuador.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.