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UN Security Council condemns Jerusalem ramming attack

World body emphasizes ‘need for those responsible for this reprehensible act of terrorism to be held accountable’

The scene of a truck-ramming attack in which a truck plowed into a group of Israeli soldiers, killing four and injuring 16, in the Armon Hanatsiv neighborhood of Jerusalem. January 08, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The scene of a truck-ramming attack in which a truck plowed into a group of Israeli soldiers, killing four and injuring 16, in the Armon Hanatsiv neighborhood of Jerusalem. January 08, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The United Nations Security Council condemned Sunday’s terror attack in Jerusalem, calling it “unjustifiable” and joining others around the world who have spoken out against the deadly truck-ramming incident.

“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” a statement by the body released late Sunday read.

The statement came after a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem killed four soldiers and injured 16 others by ramming his truck into a group of soldiers getting off a bus at a popular promenade in the capital on Sunday afternoon.

The incident drew swift and harsh condemnation from the international community, while officials in Israel linked it to similar attacks in Nice, France, and Berlin and said the driver had been inspired by the Islamic State.

In its statement, the Security Council called for “those responsible for this reprehensible act of terrorism to be held accountable.”

“Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation,” the statement read, calling on UN member states to “combat” any “threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.”

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli envoy to the UN Danny Danon called on the Security Council and new UN Secretray General Antonio Guterres to condemn the attack, which he said was the “direct result of Palestinian incitement.”

Guterres was silent on the attack Sunday, but Nickolay Mladenov, his special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, was swift to express outrage over the terror attack.

“My thoughts go out to victims of shocking #terror attack in #Jerusalem. Must be condemned by all. Absolutely no excuses, no justifications!” he wrote on Twitter.

In a subsequent statement, Mladenov said it was “reprehensible that some choose to glorify such acts which undermine the possibility of a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis.” He added: “There is nothing heroic in such actions.” He urged all to “condemn violence and incitement, maintain calm and to do everything they can to avoid further escalation.”

Israel’s relationship with the Security Council has been especially strained in recent weeks following the passage of a resolution last month condemning Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and settlements in the West Bank, saying such activity has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

Members of the UN Security Council meet on December 31, 2016, at the UN Headquarters in New York, after unanimously approving a resolution supporting a Russian-Turkish peace initiative for Syria. (AFP/Kena Betancur)
Members of the UN Security Council meet on December 31, 2016, at the UN Headquarters in New York, after unanimously approving a resolution supporting a Russian-Turkish peace initiative for Syria. (AFP/Kena Betancur)

The resolution also called for steps to condemn and act against violence, including terror.

Some Israeli officials pointed to the resolution and an upcoming peace conference in Paris as giving a tailwind to Palestinian terror, a sentiment rejected by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Speaking from the scene of the attack Sunday, Liberman said the terrorist had only one motivation – that “we are Jews living here in the State of Israel.”

Sunday’s attack occurred as a group of soldiers were getting off a bus at the Haas Promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, a popular tourist spot in southern Jerusalem, when 28-year-old Fadi al-Qunbar from the nearby East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber drove a large flatbed truck into them.

First responders at the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem, January 8, 2016. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
First responders at the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem, January 8, 2016. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Four soldiers — three women and one man — were killed. Sixteen more people were injured, two of them very seriously.

The driver accelerated as he struck the group, then put the vehicle in reverse and ran over them a second time.

The terrorist was shot by soldiers and a civilian guide, police said. He died of his wounds.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday from the scene of the attack that “according to all the signs he is a supporter of the Islamic State.”

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