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Jerusalem Truck Attack Kills At Least 4, Wounds 15


A Palestinian drove a truck into a crowd of Israeli soldiers according to Israeli police. At least four people are dead and 15 injured. The attack took place in Jerusalem at a popular promenade with a panoramic view of the Old City. Reporter Daniel Estrin is in Tel Aviv, and he joins us now.

Can you tell us how the attack unfolded, Daniel?

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Yeah. A group of Israeli soldiers had just gotten off a bus at the Haas Promenade. Israelis call it, in Hebrew, the Tayelet. It's a popular spot for tourists and locals, both Israelis and Palestinians. It has a sweeping view of the Jerusalem skyline. And the soldiers were there on a tour with tour guides. And security footage broadcast on Israeli television shows a white truck driving off the road and onto the promenade, barreling into the group of young soldiers and then very quickly driving in reverse, apparently to try to run over more soldiers. Israeli TV reported one of the tour guides shot and killed the truck driver. And a medic said four people, apparently soldiers in their 20s, were killed - most of them pinned under the truck - who died on the scene.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What do we know about the truck driver who carried out the attack?

ESTRIN: What we know is what the Israeli police chief told reporters. He was from an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Palestinian news sites identified him as 28-year-old Fadi al-Qanbar. But there's a police gag order right now on the details of the investigation, so we don't know much more than that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Obviously, when something like this happens, it creates a lot of consternation. How are Israeli and Palestinian officials responding?

ESTRIN: Well, the Israeli Cabinet is going to be meeting for an emergency meeting soon. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to the scene of the attack. No official word yet from Palestinian officials, but we are seeing a lot of reaction online from Israelis and Palestinians. I watched television coverage of the attack on Facebook Live. And there was just a stream of comments - Palestinians leaving smiley emojis and Palestinian flags, making fun of the soldiers running away that you can see in the coverage - the soldiers running away during the attack; and then Israelis leaving comments blaming leftists, calling death to Arabs. So there's a lot of anger right now online.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And this is only going to heighten tensions in an already violent year between Israelis and Palestinians. Give us some context for this attack.

ESTRIN: Right. I mean, this comes after more than a year of violence, Palestinian attacks - mostly stabbings but also car rammings like this one. In most of the incidents, Israeli soldiers or civilians have shot and killed or injured the Palestinian attackers. And it's also comes a couple days after Israeli military court found an Israeli soldier guilty of manslaughter in the killing of a Palestinian in Hebron, and there is a lot of anger here among many Israelis about that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Reporter Daniel Estrin, thank you so much.

ESTRIN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.
Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.