A Palestinian man arrested by Israeli police Thursday driving a stolen truck told television news cameras he had sought to use the truck to run over Israeli soldiers, and added that he had no regrets.
Approached by reporters after being brought to a Petah Tikva Court Friday, and asked what had happened, the man, 39, from Ramallah, said: “I took a truck, I [wanted] to run over soldiers because of Al-Aqsa. Because of what you [do] in Al-Aqsa” — referencing longstanding Palestinian allegations that Israel seeks to undermine Muslim authority at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel has repeatedly denied any such intentions.
Asked by a reporter if he was sorry for his actions, the man said, “I don’t regret it. If you do that to Al-Aqsa — I don’t regret it… even if I sit in prison.”
The court on Friday extended the man’s remand.
A newly released video shows the man’s arrest.
Police had previously said the man admitted to the plan during questioning.
Officers were alerted Thursday that the vehicle had been stolen from the coastal city of Holon, and located the truck in Beit Dagan, adjacent to Rishon Lezion, near Tel Aviv.
Cops called on the driver — a 39-year-old resident of the West Bank city of Ramallah — to stop but were ignored. That set off a car chase during which the truck smashed into a police car and another vehicle.
The truck driver was eventually arrested on Moshe Dayan Boulevard in Rishon Lezion, police said.
He admitted during questioning that he had stolen the truck in order to carry out a vehicular ramming attack against Israeli soldiers, police said.
Cars, trucks and vans have been used in many terror attacks on Israelis, including a January attack that saw an East Jerusalem man drive his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers, back up and run over them again, killing four and injuring dozens.
In April, a Palestinian driver slammed into soldiers at a bus stop near the Ofra settlement, killing Sgt. Elhai Teharlev who was guarding the spot.
Vehicles have also been the weapon of choice in multiple terror attacks in Europe over the last year.
The most deadly attack was carried out by the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked truck to drive into a Christmas market in Berlin.
In March, a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death. Four men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge and rampaged with knives nearby, killing eight, in June.
A man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June.
Agencies contributed to this report.