"I can't believe he did what he did; he was a good, caring person," the Jewish ex-girlfriend of Hossam Dawyyat said Thursday, a day after the bulldozer driver's killing spree in downtown Jerusalem left three people dead.
According to the 27-year-old ex-girlfriend, who also resides in the capital, Dawyyat "liked Jews and had many Jewish friends.
"Maybe a domestic dispute led him to this," saod the woman, who asked to remain nameless, "he did a foolish thing; he wrecked his family and ruined the lives of his children."
In February 2001 Dawyyat was convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court of assaulting her and was sentenced to 20 months in prison. He admitted to threatening her, including telling her he would kill her if she refused to marry him; and physically assaulting her on a number of occasions, despite the restraining order that had been issued against him. The couple broke up eight years ago.
The ex-girlfriend said Dawyyat's life could have been spared: "Why did they have to put those two bullets in him (after the attack was over)?" she said. "I'm very sad today. At first my parents were angry with me because I cried over his death, but now they are consoling me, because the media are harassing me. I'm reliving the entire episode after eight years.
"He loved me and I loved him; we were each other's first love. He wasn't violent all the time, only when he had a reason to be jealous," she recalled. "I loved him despite what he did to me. He was everything to me during that time."