An Israeli police spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the “terrorist” was shot and killed after carrying out what she called a deliberate attack.
Sources identified the slain driver as 28-year-old Fadi Ahmad Hamdan al-Qunbar from the nearby East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir.
Israel’s emergency medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) said that the slain Israeli soldiers were in their 20s. According to Israeli media, three were women and the fourth was a man.
MDA added that 13 others were wounded — three severely, one moderately to severely, and nine lightly. They were all evacuated to Israel’s Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. It remained unconfirmed if any civilians were among the injured.
Israeli police said a truck with Israeli license plates veered from its course and rammed into people getting off of a bus — later revealed to be a group uniformed Israeli soldiers — at a promenade in the settlement, which overlooks the Old City of East Jerusalem. A number of people were initially trapped under the truck, and three of the wounded had to be extracted from under the track using a crane.
Israeli police reported imposing heightened security measures in the Jerusalem area, and that investigations were ongoing. Israeli police chief Roni Alsheich told reporters that there was no advance warning for the attack.
Israeli police later announced a gag-order for Israeli media on all further details of the case, including the identities of suspects.
The illegal East Talpiyyot settlement is also known as Armon Hanatziv, and is located just west of Jabal al-Mukabbir.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov quickly reacted to the attack in a Tweet, saying: “My thoughts go out to victims of shocking #terror attack in #Jerusalem. Must be condemned by all. Absolutely no excuses, no justifications!”
Meanwhile, the Hamas movement released a statement in Arabic on social media, in which it hailed the “heroic and brave truck attack in Jerusalem which comes as natural reaction to the Israeli occupation’s crimes.”
Since a wave of unrest began in October 2015– largely marked by small-scale attacks by Palestinians targeting uniformed Israeli soldiers and police with knives or similar weapons — a number of deliberate car ramming attacks have occurred. However, Israeli authorities’ version of events have been challenged in a number of incidents, with officials in some cases later admitting so-called “terror attacks” were actually traffic accidents.However, Israeli news site Ynet quoted a witness as saying that after the truck rammed into the group of soldiers, Israeli forces fired at the driver who then reversed the truck and ran over the soldiers again.