The terrorist who drove his truck at high speed into a crowd of soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four IDF officer cadets and injuring at least 16 more, was a supporter of the Islamic State, Prime Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday during a visit to the scene of the attack. There may be a connection between the incident and similar truck attacks in Berlin and Nice, he added.
“We are here after a vicious and tragic terror attack that killed four IDF soldiers,” said Netanyahu, who viewed the carnage together with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
“We know the identity of the attacker and according to to all the signs he is a supporter of the Islamic State,” Netanyahu said, adding that it was possible that there was a link between this attack and truck rammings at a Berlin Christmas market last month and in Nice earlier in the year.
“I have just come from a meeting with the defense minister, the chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet and others about steps we need to take,” the prime minister said. “We know that these are a series of attacks and there definitely could be a link between them, from France to Berlin, and now Jerusalem.”
Liberman added that the was only one reason for the attack – that “we are Jews living here in the State of Israel.”
He said there was no need to seek convoluted explanations, it was “not because of Jewish settlements and not because of the peace talks. It was an attack inspired by Islamic State. We saw this in France, we saw this in Berlin, and unfortunately we saw this today in Jerusalem,” he said.
The Berlin attack in December killed 12 people, including an Israeli tourist, and left dozens wounded. In Nice in July, a truck plowed into a French independence day celebration, killing 84.
Footage of the Jerusalem incident taken from a security camera showed the truck run into the group of soldiers as they stood next to a bus. The driver then turns the truck around and runs over the group again as people scramble for cover. He was eventually shot dead.
Netanyahu said that a closure had been imposed on the Jabel Mukabar neighborhood of East Jerusalem, where the terrorist came from, and that other “unspecified” steps were being taken.
Palestinian media reports named him as Fadi al-Qanbar, 28. Channel 2 said he was in his late 20s, married with four children, and had served time in Israeli prison. It said he purchased the truck recently.