Issa Ibrahim Islam
Photo: Ofer Amram
Issa Ibrahim Islam, 22-year-old from Kfar Qassem, who killed one person and wounded 18 with his car on "Nakba Day" in a suspected terror attack, told the Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday that he felt as thought "the car drove itself, I wasn't awake. I wasn't even conscious."
"I tried to grab the steering wheel, something pushed me… the tires were punctured, something was wrong with the steering wheel, I don't know," he said. "I felt like the vehicle was steering right and left."
Islam added that he was familiar with the road where the rampage took place because he had been on it a few times before, and denied drinking alcohol or taking drugs prior to the incident.
Issa Ibrahim Islam (Photo: Ofer Amram)
The driver had previously insisted that the rampage was a result of a flat tire, rather than a deliberate attack. During the incident, he drove several kilometers while hitting more than a dozen cars.
In the indictment filed against him following the rampage, witnesses claimed Islam got out of the truck, yelling "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Great" in Arabic), but Islam denied his actions were nationalistically motivated.
"I don't even think about such things. I drive from work to my home and from home to work. I barely listen to the news once a week. Such things don't interest me," explained Islam.
"Did you do it because you hate Jews?" Islam's attorney questioned him.
"I don't differentiate between Jews and Arabs. I've worked for many Jews. I'm not a racist," Islam responded. He added that he does not suffer from a mental illness.
"How can one drive three kilometers without his hands on the wheel? Are you claiming you were unconscious and your hands weren't on the wheel and your leg wasn't on the gas?" the prosecutor in the case asked. "How does a man whose unconscious drive straight? Without turning right or left? When do you turn? When you wake up? How could that be?"
Islam responded: "(My hands) weren't on the wheel and I wasn't conscious."
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