Three Killed in Jerusalem Rampage

Israeli police say a Palestinian bulldozer driver went on a rampage in Jerusalem, killing at least three people and injuring dozens. Video by AP
By Griff Witte
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, July 3, 2008

JERUSALEM, July 2 -- Hussam Edwyat, the Palestinian construction worker who killed three Israelis and injured dozens of others by crushing cars and ramming buses with an earthmover in downtown Jerusalem on Wednesday, had intimate ties with his Jewish neighbors.

He worked among Jews, helping to build a luxury, ultra-Orthodox apartment complex in West Jerusalem. He lived among them, waking each day in a house that faces a Jewish neighborhood in mostly Arab East Jerusalem. And for a time, he dated one, friends and relatives said, having had a long-term Jewish girlfriend.

But on Wednesday, for reasons that remain unclear, Edwyat attacked them and ended up dying with them.

His deadly rampage started just before noon, when he plowed a yellow Caterpillar earthmover into lunchtime traffic on Jaffa Road, one of Jerusalem's main commercial thoroughfares. It ended only when an Israeli police officer jumped onto the vehicle's cab and fired two shots at close range.

The earthmover came to rest atop a car whose fatally injured driver remained pinned inside. Behind it lay a 400-yard trail of mangled bodies and vehicles.

Witnesses said Edwyat, 34, appeared determined to cause as much destruction as possible before he was stopped.

"People were running in all directions, but he was just driving forward with all his power," said Nil Levy, 25, a student who was walking by at the time.

One of the victims was identified late Wednesday night as Elizabeth Goren Friedman, 54. The other two were a 70-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman whose names were not disclosed. More than 40 people were injured.

The attack was the second this year involving a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who had crossed into predominantly Jewish West Jerusalem to kill. In March, a shooting at a seminary left eight people dead.

Wednesday's attack prompted immediate debate in Israel over whether more restrictions need to be placed on the 250,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem.

That would not be easy, however, since unlike in Gaza and the West Bank, where Palestinians' movements are severely limited by walls, fences and checkpoints, there is no barrier between the two halves of Jerusalem. Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem generally have Israeli residency cards that allow them to work in Israel.

"In Jerusalem, Jews and Arabs live together, and this is a situation that has existed for hundreds of years," said Israeli police chief David Cohen. "There's no way to control a single person if he wants to commit terrorism."

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