Five wounded in terror car-ramming near busy Jerusalem market

One victim in his 80s fighting for his life; Palestinian man who plowed car into pedestrians at corner of Agrippas and Ki’ach streets shot dead

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

The scene of a terrorist car-ramming attack in Jerusalem on April 24, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The scene of a terrorist car-ramming attack in Jerusalem on April 24, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Five people were wounded in a car-ramming terror attack near Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market on Monday afternoon, police and medics said.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said its medics treated five people at the scene on the corner of Agrippas and Ki’ach streets, including an elderly man in serious condition.

The man, in his 80s, later underwent surgery for multisystemic injuries and doctors were continuing to fight to save his life, said Dr. Alon Schwartz, head of trauma at Shaare Zedek hospital.

A woman in her 30s was listed in moderate condition with injuries to her limbs and will likely also require surgery, Schwartz said.

Three others were listed in good condition, including a 50-year-old man and two men aged 25. The five were taken to Shaare Zedek and Hadassah Ein Kerem hospitals in Jerusalem.

Graphic amateur video footage showed an armed civilian shooting into the car’s window as a wounded man lay on the hood of the vehicle. Several other victims were seen strewn across the street.

“A citizen who witnessed the incident and was near the scene shot and neutralized the terrorist, and later he was declared dead at the scene,” police said in a statement, calling the ramming a terror attack.

The Palestinian driver was identified as 39-year-old Hatem Najma, a father of five from the Beit Safafa neighborhood, which straddles the Green Line that marked Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries. He had no known prior security offenses, but was known to have mental heath issues.

The attack occurred outside the Mahane Yehuda outdoor market, or shuk, a popular area normally crowded with shoppers.

The area was filled with people ahead of the start on Monday evening of Memorial Day, when most stores close.

Police said the driver “accelerated and deliberately hit a number of pedestrians, some of whom were crossing the road,” near the market.

Illustrative: People shop at the Jerusalem Mahane Yehuda market, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, April 19, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also called the incident a terror attack.

“Minutes ago, not far from here, there was another attempt to murder Israeli citizens. This terror attack reminds us that the Land of Israel and the State of Israel were acquired through many tribulations,” Netanyahu said during a ceremony ahead of Memorial Day at the nearby Yad Lebanim Memorial center.

Israel will mark Memorial Day for soldiers, terror victims and others starting Monday night ahead of Independence Day Tuesday night, a period when emotions and tensions often run high. A Palestinian stabbing attack on Independence Day in the central city of Elad last year left four dead and several more injured.

The scene of a terrorist car-ramming attack in Jerusalem on April 24, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for over a year, with the Israeli military conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 19 people dead since the beginning of the year and several more seriously hurt.

At least 92 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

Last week, two Israeli men were shot and wounded in a terror attack in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The alleged Palestinian assailant was arrested less than a day later in Nablus.

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