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Truck Terror in Jerusalem: 4 Soldiers Killed, 15 Hurt

By DEBKAfile, VOA News, Israel Hayom, & YnetNews

A heavy crane truck, driven by a Palestinian terrorist, Fadi Ahmad Al-Qunbar, rocketed back and forth across a patch of grass at the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem, murdering 4 soldiers, three of them female servicewomen, all in their twenties, and injuring 15, before a civilian tour guide, Eytan Rond, and a soldier shot and killed the driver.

Authorities said the soldiers were getting off a bus at the scenic Armon Hanatziv promenade overlooking the walled Old City of Jerusalem. Three of four victims of the Palestinian terrorist attack were officers – two of them women: They have been identified as 2nd Lt. Yael Yekutiel, 20, from Givatayim (promoted posthumously to full lieutenant), officer cadet Shir Hajaja, 22, from Maaleh Adummim, and Shira Tzur, 20, from Haifa. The last two were promoted to 2nd Lt. after their death. The fourth fatality was Corp. Erez Auerback, 20, from Alon Shevut.

Also present at the scene were some 300 trainees of the IDF Officers' School, Bahad 1 - all of them armed. Eytan described how he shot at the truck's wheels but, when it kept on coming, he ran round to the driver's side of the cab and shot him straight through the window. The driver was killed on the spot.

The tour guide said that he emptied his magazine into the truck. He also reported that the officers and men closest to him hesitated to use their M-16 rifles, which he said were better than his own, and could have stopped the truck much sooner before it began wheeling back and forth and slamming into more victims.

His account was confirmed by video footage, which shows dozens of uniformed men 30-50 meters from the rampaging truck and heading away. There were also witnesses who reported that groups of Palestinians stood by and watched and some clapped and shouted encouragement to the truck driver. "I do not know why 40 soldiers did not open fire. I have no doubt that if they had opened fire immediately, we would have had fewer injuries." Rond said.

On Sunday evening, however, Noam Kadar, a cadet who was present at the scene of the attack, rejected those allegations and said that the soldiers' running from the terrorist had nothing to do with the Azariya case.

"Please stop listening to unsubstantiated reports by those who run to publicize rubbish and distorted information. Please stop spreading views which are based on baseless lies. Please stop trying to sell psychological explanations about what went on when I saw a truck run over my friends. OK?" Kadar wrote on Facebook.

"Don't any of you dare to compare a semitrailer driving at 100 kilometers an hour (60 miles an hour) to a terrorist lying prone. Nobody was scared to shoot, people were scared to be run over because a terrorist had run amok with murder in his eyes," she added.

A straight line must clearly be drawn between the conduct IDF soldiers exhibited in Jerusalem Sunday and the case of the Hebron soldier, Elor Azaria, whom a week ago a military court convicted of manslaughter for killing an injured terrorist. The Azaria case has proved highly divisive in Israel, with heated arguments going back and forth over his action. But, the fact remains that, just a week later, a large group of IDF servicemen, most of them officer cadets, bolted instead of challenging the terrorist, when they were faced with the first major Palestinian terrorist attack after the court's verdict.

Members of the terrorist's family have been taken in for police questioning His neighborhood, Jabal Muqaber, is under lockdown.

Police commissioner Ronny Alsheikh said in a briefing at the scene that this might have been a copycat attack after the trucks that mowed down civilians in ISIS attacks in Nice and Berlin in recent months. However, he said, a local Jerusalem Palestinian in Jerusalem can easily pick his targets in the city. He carries a residential ID, moves freely around the town and can drive a vehicle with a standard Israeli plate, as the killer truck did Sunday.When he saw a group descending from a bus at the popular promenade, he saw his chance, swerved at top speed and struck.

Palestinian social media described the episode in detail, along with the terrorist's name, in an outpouring of congratulations for his "feat."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated that the terrorist who killed four soldiers in the ramming attack was inspired by the ISIS terrorist organization.

"We are here after a brutal terrorist attack in which four soldiers were tragically murdered, three women and one man. We know the identity of the perpetrator, who by all indications is a supporter of the Islamic State. We have closed off the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood from which he came, and we are doing other things which I will not detail here." Netanyahu said in a statement in Hebrew,

He said that there may be a connection between today's ramming attack and other ISIS-inspired ramming attacks in Europe. "I have just come from a discussion with the Defense Minister, the Chief of Staff, the head of the Shin Bet, and others, about the appropriate action [we should take in response]. We know that there is a succession of attacks [around the world], and it could well be that there is also a connection between them, from France and Berlin, and now Jerusalem. We are fighting this scourge, and we're going to defeat it."

"I would like to express my condolences to the families, and of course my wishes for recovery to the injured. We will overcome this as we have overcome other terrorist attacks. There are a number of actions that we will not detail them now, things we will have to do to ensure that such incidents do not recur, so that we will be able to stop them when there are attempts such as this one." he said.

The U.S. State Department condemned the attack in "the strongest possible terms. There is absolutely no justification for these brutal and senseless attacks," the top U.S. diplomatic agency said. "We?condemn the glorification of terrorism now or at any time and call on all to send a clear message that terrorism must never be tolerated."

Sunday's incident ranks as one of the single deadliest in a wave of violence since September 2015, in which Palestinian attackers have killed 40 Israelis and several foreign nationals in a string of vehicle-ramming, knifing and gun assaults. Israel, in turn, has killed 247 Palestinians.

Israel says the violence is driven by a Palestinian attempt at incitement, while Palestinians say it is the result of 50 years of Israeli occupation of one-time Palestinian lands and dwindling hopes for an independent Palestinian state.

An investigation conducted by the IDF following the murderous truck attack found that a number of cadets opened fire at the terrorist, at which point one of the commanders ordered the rest of the cadets to take cover and stay away from the scene.The investigation comes amid allegations that the soldiers who were at the scene were afraid to shoot at the terrorist who perpetrated the attack, in which an officer and three cadets were murdered.

The sister of Fadi Ahmad Al-Qunbar, who carried out the truck-ramming attack, welcomed the news of her brother's act of terrorism later in the day.After learning of her 28-year-old brother's having slain one officer and three cadets, Al-Qunbar's sister commented, "Praise be to God that he became a martyr. It's the most beautiful martyrdom. Praise the Lord for him becoming a shahid. It is the most beautiful kind of saintly death."

His sister said that following the attack, police forces arrived at the family's home. "We realized he did it when we saw a picture of his truck on Facebook," she said. "The police told us what he did and removed us from the house." She relayed that the police took down the names of all the family members.

Al-Qunbar's sister added that her brother was a devout religious man who was married with four children. Responding to claims that he was affiliated to a terrorist group, she said, "He didn't belong to any group or political movement. He carried out the attack on his own.

So far, nine suspects have been arrested on suspicion of being linked to the attack. Five of them are family members of Al-Qunbar. A preliminary investigation found that he had not been arrested or served jail time for any security offenses. His personal belongings are currently being examined to see whether he was affiliated with international terrorist group ISIS.

"This truck attack shows that any attempt to put a stop to the resistance will fail," Hamas's military wing wrote on Twitter. amas spokesman Abdul-Latif Qanou called it a "heroic" act and encouraged other Palestinians to do the same and "escalate the resistance." Qanou says Sunday's attack proves the wave of Palestinian violence has not ended, despite a recent lull. He says "it may be quiet, it may linger, but it will never end."

Over a Million PA Arabs Plan to Leave


More Arabs are leaving Judea and Samaria every year reported an Arab48 journalist, referring to Areas A and B, under Palestinian Authority control. "A guy named Ahmad told me there were 44 kids in his high school class, all of them from Kfar Ramon. Only four of them still live there, the rest moved to the United States," the journalist said.

"There are no more celebrations, because there are no more young people. What will they celebrate, who will put people on their shoulders? In our village, there used to be 14,000 people, but 10,000 emigrated to the US, 2,000 emigrated to Jordan, and there are only 2,500 people left (sic)."

Most of those who emigrate are under 30, single, and jobless. 90% are Muslim Arabs, and the other 10% are Christian Arabs. And only 27% of Arab youth consider themselves to be politically active. The vast majority of Arabs who leave Israel emigrate to either the United States or South America. However, a large percentage visit Israel during the summers and vacations.

Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas do not make ensuring their residents have adequate access to education, jobs, and medical centers a priority. Most of the international aid funneled to Gaza and the PA goes into financing rockets and terror tunnels, paying terrorists and their families salaries, and lining the pockets of corrupt PA politicians and terror leaders.

As a result, there is large gap between rich and poor, with much of the Arab public in these areas impoverished and uneducated. According to the Arab48, even those who do complete college and find jobs often earn between 1500 NIS to 2500 NIS each month working in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas. Those working for Israelis enjoy a higher income by far, but Israeli firms in Judea and Samaria that employ Palestinian Arabs, such as SodaStream and those in the Barkan Industrial Park, are subject to boycotts and other threats.

Israeli Arabs are highly educated, in contrast and can be found in every sphere of economic activity earning good wages, including doctors, pharmacists, nurses, construction workers, busdrivers, repairmen and other fields. For unskilled workers, the minimum wage in Israel is approximately 5000 NIS per month.

Muslim Teen Who Chased Down Assailant of Jewish Woman Honored


A Muslim teenager from New York City who helped police catch a man who hit an Orthodox Jewish woman on the subway was honored by community leaders. Ahmed Khalifa, 17, stopped the Brooklyn-bound train on December 28 so that the woman could get medical attention and then jumped off the train to follow the assailant.

The slap broke the woman's glasses and caused her to lose consciousness. She was removed from the train and taken to a local hospital. Khalifa followed the assailant and contacted the Shomrim Jewish safety patrol who got the police involved.

He waited near the bus stop until the police arrived. The police removed the assailant, identified as Rayvon Jones, 31, from the bus. Jones was charged with assault in Brooklyn Criminal Court.

State Assemblyman Dov Hikind on Thursday presented Khalifa with a donated laptop computer for college in the fall and a citation praising his actions.

Hikind noted that Khalifa is Muslim and that he helped an Orthodox Jewish woman. "In a time of such divisiveness, it's refreshing to see a story like this resonate within our communities," said Hikind, who is an Orthodox Jew, and was joined by community faith leaders and politicians in the ceremony.

"I'm just a guy. I think everyone should be doing this because we are all one people; I would help anyone out no matter who they are, I'm just happy people are learning that this is the right thing to do," Khalifa said in a statement, the Brooklyn Eagle reported.

MainAll NewsInside Israel'Israeli Air Force One' to begin service this year

'Israeli Air Force One' to begin service this year Aircraft for Prime Minister and President to enter service this summer, equipped with missile defense system. Contact Editor Gary Willig, 02/01/17 22:38 Share

El Al airplane, which the PM would have flown on before the 'Israeli Air Force 1'El Al airplane, which the PM would have flown on before the 'Israeli Air Force 1'Photo: Moshe Shai / Flash90

Israeli prime ministers and presidents will begin flying on a new, $70 million dollar aircraft whenever they leave the country later this year, Channel 2 reported.

Israel's leaders currently fly with one of Israel's three largest public airlines and often travel on commercial flights.

According to Channel 2, the plane will be equipped with Elbit Systems' '"Flight Guard" missile defense system, which is designed to protect the aircraft from shoulder-launched missiles during takeoff and landing.

The plane arrived in Israel in summer, 2016, and is currently being retrofitted by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It is expected to go into service this summer.

Further details about the aircraft are currently under military censorship. Photographs of the plane have been blurred to comply with the military censor.


MainAll NewsInside IsraelDisabled man's alimony leaves him homeless, eating tree fruit

Disabled man's alimony leaves him homeless, eating tree fruit Ami has undergone several surgeries for cancer, divorced, and lost his job. Alimony he is forced to pay erases his disability pension. Contact Editor Gil Ronen, 08/01/17 15:03 Share

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Ami (a pseudonym), 46, is classified as 100% disabled and suffers from cancer that has returned several times since 2009. His body is scarred from his many surgeries, and he suffers from depression. In recent years, his only income is a disability pension of around NIS 3,500 per month - but even that is taken away from him.

NIS 900 of his allowance is transferred directly to his ex-wife's account as a dependent. In addition, the court ordered Ami to pay NIS 1,750 a month in child support. Since he is unable to pay, he accumulates debt to the National Insurance Institute.

Ami's ex-wife has declared that she earns NIS 5,200 per month as an accountant.

Disability pensions are considered to be untouchable emergency assistance, even if the disabled has debts. There is only one exception to this rule - alimony payments. And it happens often, that disabled divorced men with no income except the meager disability pension find it, too, seized for child support. This is true even when the mother has her own income, and despite the fact that the mother and children can receive assistance directly through National Insurance.

Bathing with a garden hose

Ami was evicted in October from the housing unit where he lived in the center of the country after he could not pay the rent. The landlord allows him, for now, to pass the days and nights in the compound where the housing unit is located - but he is forced to sleep outside in the cold. He bathes with the garden hose, and eats fruit off of the trees.

Ami's case was decided by Judge Iris Essl of the Tel Aviv Family Court. Perhaps Ami could have gotten better results, but the lawyer he received through the state legal aid treated him degradingly and did a poor job of representim him. He was told by the Legal Aid bureau that the attorney in fact made serious mistakes in the case, and that he will get another lawyer in his place. It is thought that often lawyers tend to sell short the men they represent in divorce proceedings, believing that the result is a foregone conclusion and there is therefore no real chance to achieve good results for their clients.

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In the days since we interviewed him, Ami's situation has improved. After receiving help from Chagai Nadav, founder of the Beit Abba (Homes for Fathers) organization, Ami found temporary housing for the coming month. However, he lives in dire straits. "I am on the skids," says Ami. "G-d help me. I'm thinking of putting up a collection, but I don't know how to do it".

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