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Victim of French Hill car attack regains consciousness

Shira Klein, 20, who was critically injured, now breathing on her own and speaking to family members

The aftermath of a car-ramming at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem on April 15, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The aftermath of a car-ramming at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem on April 15, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The condition of Shira Klein, a young woman who was seriously wounded in an alleged vehicular attack in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood on the night of April 15, has improved.

Klein, who is hospitalized at the Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood, has regained consciousness and is breathing on her own and speaking to family.

The attack claimed the life of 25-year-old Shalom Yohai Sherki, the son of prominent rabbi Ouri Sherki, who is well known in Jerusalem’s francophone community.

The alleged attacker, Khaled Koutineh, 37, of East Jerusalem, had been driving his car on Highway 1 toward the Pisgat Zeev neighborhood.

He was stopped at a red light, and when the signal turned green, he accelerated into the opposite lane, drove up onto the sidewalk and rammed into Sherki and Klein, who were waiting for a bus.

As he reversed his car to flee from the scene, he crashed into a traffic light and was captured by police.

Police said that Koutineh confessed several days later that the incident had been a deliberate attack “in retaliation for his miserable life.”

A Shin Bet investigation revealed that several hours before the attack, Koutineh had driven his parents and family members from Anata to their home in East Jerusalem and felt great anger at having been detained at a checkpoint on his way out of Anata.

After letting his parents off at their home, Koutineh sat inside his car and made the decision to carry out an attack against Jews, police said.

The capital has seen a spate of car-ramming attacks over the past year, in which Palestinian “lone-wolf” assailants have used their vehicles as weapons to mow down Israeli civilians. Such attacks are usually spontaneous and are not thought to be directly orchestrated by terror groups.

On Saturday evening, three Israeli police officers were injured when they were struck by a car on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem in what authorities suspect may have been a deliberate attack.

Magen David Adom paramedics said they treated a 20-year-old woman for moderate injuries, and a man and woman for minor injuries sustained after being struck by the vehicle. The three were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment. Police fired on the vehicle as it sped away, and it was later found abandoned. A suspect in the alleged attack was arrested on Sunday morning and questioned by police.

It was the third attack on Israeli security personnel in a single day, and the second in the vicinity of the At-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

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