Israel is on high alert after four soldiers were killed and 16 wounded after a flatbed truck driven by an Arab terrorist rammed into a group of soldiers adjacent to the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon.
Three female soldiers and one male soldier, all in their early 20s, were declared dead at the scene, which was called a mass-casualty incident.
According to Yossi Fraenkel, deputy commander of ZAKA in Jerusalem, 11 of the wounded are in light condition, four are in either serious or moderate condition, and one is in critical condition.
Five people have been arrested — including the assailant’s father and brother — in connection with the attack.
The truck’s windshield was riddled with bullets, as police and first-responders responded to the scene.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the scene with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, said the terrorist was identified as Fadi al-Qanbar, from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, long a hotbed of incitement and violence.
“We in Jerusalem have just experienced an unprovoked terrorist attack that claimed the lives of four young Israelis and wounded others,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
“This is part of the same ongoing battle against the global scourge of terrorism. We can only fight it together, but we’ll fight it.”
Speaking at the scene of the slaughter, Netanyahu added there “definitely could be a connection” between Sunday’s horrific attack and similar ISIS truck attacks that took place in France and Germany in recent months.
“We know the identity of the attacker, and according to all the signs, he is a supporter of Islamic State,” Netanyahu said.
“We are fighting this plague, and will defeat it. We are taking other actions that I will not detail here.”
Here is video.
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Images on social media showed some Palestinians handing out sweets to children in celebration of the attack.
זירת פיגוע הדריסה בארמון הנציב, לפני זמן קצר pic.twitter.com/us4XJsGoW3
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) January 8, 2017
The Palestinian Hamas movement, an Islamic militant group that rules Gaza and has killed hundreds of Israelis in attacks over the years, praised the assault but stopped short of taking responsibility.
Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Qanou called it a “heroic” act and encouraged other Palestinians to do the same and “escalate the resistance.”
He said the attack proves the wave of Palestinian violence has not ended, despite a recent lull. “It may be quiet, it may linger, but it will never end,” he said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on residents to be wary but carry on with their everyday life.
“Unfortunately, there is no limit to the cruelty of terrorists who spare no means in killing Jews and disrupting their way of life,” he said. “Those who incite and support terror must pay a heavy price.”