March 5, 2009 / 11:44 AM / 10 years ago

Bulldozer driver shot in Jerusalem after car attack

(Adds police confirmation)

By Ari Rabinovitch

JERUSALEM, March 5 (Reuters) - The driver of a bulldozer crushed a police car and attacked other vehicles on a busy Jerusalem road on Thursday before police and a taxi driver shot him dead, police and hospital officials said.

Police said they found an open Koran, the Muslim holy book, in the driver’s cabin and that the man was not carrying any identification.

Israel’s Army Radio identified the driver as a Palestinian.

"It seems to be a terrorist attack from the evidence we have at the moment," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, though he offered no specifics. He would not identify the driver.

The incident came one day after a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Police compared the attack to three similar incidents last year, two with bulldozers and one with a BMW car.

In the 2008 incidents, which police also called "terrorist" attacks, the drivers were identified as Palestinians from Arab East Jerusalem.

Rosenfeld said police stepped up security across Jerusalem on Thursday. The incident took place on a major road that cuts across Jerusalem.

Police and witnesses at the scene said the driver of the bulldozer first turned over a police car and then tried to hit a passing bus. Panicking passengers asked the bus driver to stop the vehicle to let them out, a witness said.

"At that point, two people — a policeman and a civilian — approached the tractor and, from the ground, shot the driver," said one of the witnesses, who identified himself as Shai.

The civilian who shot at the driver was identified by witnesses as a taxi driver.

Israeli health officials said the driver died at hospital. (Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr and Ivan Karakashian; Writing by Adam Entous; Editing by Jon Boyle) (For blogs and links on Israeli politics and other Israeli and Palestinian news, go to http:/blogs.reuters.com/axismundi)



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