VIDEO - Three weeks after the previous Jerusalem bulldozer attack, another tractor driver went on a rampage on the capital's King David Street on Tuesday afternoon.
The police reported that the terrorist was shot dead and that at least 18 people were injured in the incident, one sustaining moderate to serious wounds. He was evacuated to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The rest were lightly injured and evacuated to the Bikur Holim, Hadassha Mount Scopus and Hadassah Ein Kerem hospitals. A baby was lightly wounded by shrapnel.
At around 2 pm, eyewitnesses reported seeing a bulldozer driver running wild in the city and overturning cars. Large rescue forces were dispatched to the area.
A police investigation revealed that the driver came from a construction site near the Yemin Moshe neighborhood and hit two vehicles. A civilian shot him, but the bulldozer continued driving. Border Guard officers shot at the driver and killed him.
Scene of attack (Photo: Alona Alaluf)
The man who fatally shot the terrorist is 53-year-old Yaki Asael from Susia. Asael is an IDF Company Commander (res.), a teacher and a farmer, with eight children and six grandchildren.
The attack took place not far from the King David Hotel, where US presidential hopeful Barack Obama is expected to arrive Tuesday night.
Bus driver: I didn't know what hit me
Avi Levy, a driver on bus line 13 which the terrorist tried harming with his tractor, managed to continue driving and thus saved his life and that of the passengers.
A short time after the second tractor-used Jerusalem terror attack in the last month, he recounted the events in a conversation with Ynet. “I drove on Kind David Street and suddenly he burst in from Washington Street and hit my right back wheel with the tractor scoop.
“At the beginning I didn’t understand who hit me and I looked back in the mirror and didn’t see a thing. I looked in my left mirror and suddenly I see him turn around quickly, striking passengers’ windows on the left side, one strike and then immediately another.”
Car hit by bulldozer (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO)
Levy very quickly understood that this was a terror attack and tried to escape. “I tried pulling the wheel and escaping him but I did not succeed and I began driving fast… The tractor driver bypassed me, raised the tractor scoop in the direction of my window, shattered it and I managed to evade him. He continued on his drive in the direction of the King David Street windmill.”
At the end of the incident, Levy managed to save the passengers’ lives due to his resourcefulness. “I managed to flee at the last minute. When it all ended everyone thanked me, passengers told me that I saved their lives. The passengers were frightened but thank God, aside from light injuries, everyone was saved.”
'He smashed into a Mercedes'
Dina, who works near the scene of the incident, told Ynet, "There are a lot of ambulances and police cars here. We heard three or four shots fired at the bulldozer driver."
"I saw the tractor behind the bus, he passed it and continued towards a private vehicle. He flipped the car with the tractor's scoop and started going wild on the street," eyewitness Hilit Re'em told Ynet.
Arik Bloom, manager of the Paradiso restaurant, said, "It was a yellow tractor, smaller than the one used in the previous attack at the beginning of the month. He flipped three cars on their sides. Border Guard forces fired towards the driver until he was neutralized."
Kobi Zaken was at a nearby jewelry store at the time of the attack and said, "I walked on the street. When I entered the store I saw the tractor smashing into the bus. Afterwards, the tractor continued straight towards a Peugeot vehicle and crushed it. I saw someone screaming inside, the driver continued going wild and smashed into a Mercedes, the car flipped and I saw his leg sever from his body. I heard a shot and then the police arrived."
Danny Ayash, manager of the Little Italy restaurant, added, "The traffic light turned red. The cars stood with the tractor. Suddenly, he lifted the scoop and flipped over the car ahead of him. I heard five or six gunshots fired by the Border Guards who were stationed at the scene in preparation for Barack Obama's visit and the visit of Britain’s prime minister. After the shots, I saw a large hole in the glass part of the tractor."
At the beginning of the month, three people were murdered when an east Jerusalem terrorist travelling on a bulldozer, crashed into cars and buses in central Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Municipality has opened an emergency line for information on the terror attack: 1255-023-106.
Ronen Medzini, Roi Mandel and Meital Yasur Beit-Or contributed to this report