An Arab-Israeli ran over and lightly-to-moderately wounded two soldiers, a border policeman and a pedestrian in the city of Acre on Sunday morning in what police confirmed in the afternoon was a terror attack.
Security forces were originally unsure as to the motives of the driver, with varying reports indicating that he had gone on the rampage with his vehicle after being issued an expensive parking fine. However, the security forces dispelled the rumors, stating that the attack and the parking ticket were entirely unrelated.
The driver, 26 from northern Israel, ran over a soldier near the city market, before proceeding toward the train station where he plowed his vehicle into more victims.
A wounded border policeman managed to pull off a shot at the terrorist and according to initial reports managed to neutralize him.
However, conflicting testimony was provided by eye witnesses. Shimon Cohen said that the policeman loaded his gun and shot but he didn’t hit him. The driver continued to drive toward the train station and hit another two. I didn’t see that part."
Cohen, along with others, also said that the driver received a fine of NIS 1,000 for parking in a disabled spot. "He got annoyed and drove onto the sidewalk, hit some street signs and bushes and then ran over a border policeman."
The terrorist was evacuated to hospital in moderate to serious condition.
Despite the police’s conclusions, the terrorist’s family expressed their shock. “It is hard for me to believe that this was a nationalistically-motivated incident,” said one of his family members. “Maybe he was angry over receiving a ticket and that’s why he did it. He never thought about hurting people. He doesn’t have those types of thoughts.”
Moreover, the police’s evaluations have not yet satisfied the Shin Bet, who have yet to investigate the driver, in determining his motive.
In footage that captured the attack, the driver can be seen accelerating his SUV and plowing into a soldier, propelling him into the air and over the car.
“We received reports from security forces about an attempted terror attack using a car … At the moment we are in the first stages of the investigation and are trying to figure out what happened here,” said the city’s Chief Superintendent Yaniv Ronen before police concluded that the attack was nationalistically-motivated.
“This is an extremely serious incident but we don’t want to draw conclusions yet. The identity of the driver is known and we are also looking into that,” he said.
One eyewitness told Ynet that he was standing at the train station when he suddenly hear screaming.
“After that I heard a few gun shots, I crossed the road towards the parking lot of the market, saw two soldier lying on the ground, one near the side of the station and the other near the vehicle,” he said, adding that the gun shots were fired by more than one person, likely soldiers and border policemen.
Another eyewitness said that she was on a bridge when she saw the attacking vehicle rapidly turn a corner toward the market.
“I stopped in shock, and after that I saw how the police were giving him a report. They told me he received a ticket on Yehoshafat street and started going mad,” she said.
Magen David Adom (MDA) received reports at 11:37am that a vehicle had struck one man on Yehoshafat street and continued driving in the direction of the train station, where he rammed into two others.
The paramedics evacuated the wounded victims, approximately 20 years old, who were lightly-moderately wounded to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya.
Police launched an investigation to determine the motives behind the incident.
“When I got to the scene with other paramedics who live nearby I came across a driver who was shot and seriously wounded and pedestrians who were lightly and moderately wounded as a result of being hit by a vehicle,” said one medic.