One man died and 17 people were injured in what police suspect was a terror attack in Tel Aviv this morning, after a truck driving along Bar-Lev street hit and ran over several vehicles.
The fatality in the incident was identified as Aviv Morag, 28, from Givatayim.
The truck driver, a 22-year-old Arab-Israeli man from Kfar Kassem, was arrested and taken in for questioning. During a preliminary interrogation, the driver told police his tire had exploded causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
However police investigators are skeptical about his version.
Numerous ambulances rushe to the scene of the event and evacuated 17 victims to hospital. Most of the sustained light wounds and weretaken to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and the Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.
The rampage began at the Mesubim junction along two kilometers of the Bar-Lev Road. Vehicles were smashed, traffic lights knocked over and security rails destroyed. Several buses were apparently hit. The truck eventually came to a halt near a school while many students and parents were present.
Police officials said a total of 15 vehicles were hit during the rampage and that the whole area was sealed. A group of bystanders gathered near the site and chanted “Death to Arabs.”
‘Many question marks’
“There are many question marks; this whole story is being investigated by all security agencies,” Tel Aviv District Police Commander Aharon Aksol said. “I don’t want to unequivocally say whether it was an attack or an accident. The facts will become clear with time.”
Aksol added that police were currently questioning the truck driver, adding that while there are general terror warnings across Israel, no specific alerts were issued.
Magen David Adom Spokesman Zachi Heller said, “This morning we received a call about a truck that hit several vehicles at the street corner of Haim Bar-Lev and HaTayasim.
“A large team of paramedics and police vehicles arrived at the scene and treated several casualties. At the corner of HaTayasim, a vehicle crashed into a traffic light. The passenger was critically injured and after attempts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead,” he said.
An eyewitness told Ynet, “A truck driver was driving like a madman. At first I though it was an accident or a driver who lost control of his vehicle, but based on the speed and insane manner in which he was driving, it was clearly an attack. It’s scary that these things happen here.
“We yelled at him to stop, but he kept on going,” she said.
“He was completely possessed,” Yossi, another witness, told Israel Army Radio
Yet another witness, Shlomo said, “I saw the truck hurling cars like a game of bowling. When he saw the bus he crossed the junction and hit it and they both came under the bridge.
“Luckily, the bus was empty. A young man came off the truck, came towards me and yelled what sounded like ‘Allahu Akbar.’ He knocked over my phone. One girl who approached him was hurt, he hit her in the head with a traffic light. There are traffic lights scattered all over the road. Eventually an officer on a scooter came and caught him.”
Meanwhile, east Jerusalem riots resumed on Sunday. Issawiya residents hurled stones at police forces near a gas station. No injuries were reported. One man was arrested.
Israeli security forces are on high alert Sunday ahead of events marking ‘Nakba Day.’
Police raised its alertness level and the Israel Defense Forces are prepared to face riots across the border, but security forces still estimate that the Palestinians have an interest in maintaining calm. The IDF imposed closure on the West Bank.