Speaking at the scene of Wednesday’s terror attack in which a Palestinian man rammed a vehicle into pedestrians at a light rail stop in Jerusalem, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch called for the demolition of the terrorist’s home.
“Anyone who attacks police or civilians, his home should be demolished,” Aharonovitch said as he reviewed the aftermath of the attack that left one Border Police officer dead and over a dozen other people injured.
The minister praised the rapid response of security forces at the scene, who quickly shot dead 48-year-old Ibrahim al-Akary as he carried out the attack, a week after the attempted assassination of a Jewish Temple Mount activist by a Palestinian man in Jerusalem.
“A terrorist who attacks civilians deserves to be killed,” Aharonovitch said, vowing to bolster efforts to prevent future attacks.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, of the right-wing-Orthodox Jewish Home party, blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the terror attack, calling the PA a “terror authority.”
“Mahmoud Abbas is the driver of the death-car in Jerusalem, and the terrorists are just his messengers,” Bennett said. “Israel needs to say clearly that the Hamas-Fatah government is a ‘terror authority’ and it must be dealt with accordingly.”
“There is no Iron Dome against car drivers, and the citizens of Israel cannot live without deterrence and sovereignty in their capital,” he added. “Security is not a luxury.”
Police chief Yohanan Danino declared that the attacks must end. It was the second fatal ramming incident in as many weeks and the third since August.
“These events we will not be allowed to continue,” he said, but also warned that “security can’t be achieved in a day.”
Danino said that some 1,000 policemen have already been brought in to beef up security in the capital amid continued rioting in East Jerusalem, and noted that he is prepared to bring in even more.
“We need to see what else we can do to prevent attacks like this,” he said. “We will not compromise on the security of Jerusalem’s residents.”
Danino called on all security personnel and police who find themselves at a terror incident to follow the example of the border police who shot Akary dead.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who also arrived at the scene of the attack, said that he would work with police to consider options for better protecting the light rail network and its passengers.
“It’s a tough day for Jerusalem,” he said. “The situation is not easy.”
MK Miri Regev (Likud) also praised the security forces for their quick response and called for sterner action to prevent attacks.
“There is no doubt that the security reality in Jerusalem demands that the security forces and police take a strong hand against attackers and terrorists,” she said.
MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) criticized the government for not doing enough to assert its control over the capital.
“The ramming attack represents a loss of sovereignty over Jerusalem,” she said. “A government that abandons the Temple Mount enables terror to raise its head in Jerusalem. The struggle for Jerusalem needs to move up a level. Jerusalem is under attack, and at the moment the impression [that Israel is giving] is one of weakness.”
Police said the driver hit several pedestrians at a light rail station on the corner of Bar Lev and Shimon Hatzadik streets, close to the Border Police headquarters on Route 1, and then continued driving along the tracks, hitting several cars along the way until finally crashing to a halt.
Akary got out of his commercial van with a metal bar and began attacking a group of policemen before Border Police at the scene shot and killed him.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas was fanning the flames of recent tensions in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Netanyahu was reiterating angry comments he made Sunday night in response to a laudatory condolence letter Abbas sent to the family of Mut’az Hijazi, the suspected would-be Palestinian assassin of Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehudah Glick. Hijazi was killed by security forces hours after the attack.