ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
And I'm Michele Norris. In Jerusalem today, three Israelis were killed and more than 40 people were wounded when a Palestinian driving a bulldozer smashed into cars, buses and pedestrians. The attacker was a construction worker from East Jerusalem. He was shot dead at the scene. As NPR's Eric Westervelt reports from Jerusalem, the attack occurred in a crowded part of the city.
ERIC WESTERVELT: It was around lunchtime on this, the second day since Israel's schools let out for summer break. Streets and busses along the Jaffa Road District were packed.
Twenty-one-year-old Shai Rahmanov was working at his family's shawarma sandwich shop when he heard cars crashing and glass breaking. He rushed into the street, he says, and saw the giant front-end loader smashing head-on into a car.
Mr. SHAI RAHMANOV (Witness): (Through translator) The minute the driver saw people running towards him, he moved into oncoming traffic and rammed the silver car with the shovel of the bulldozer straight into her windshield. She didn't have a chance.
WESTERVELT: Rahmanov says the bulldozer driver then overturned a city bus and tried unsuccessfully to run over people gathered on the sidewalk. Panicked pedestrians ran for cover.
A main stretch of this busy commercial area was littered with crushed and wrecked cars, debris and skid marks from the rampaging bulldozer. Ambulances evacuated the dead and the wounded.
Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld says investigators believe the attacker was making his way toward the crowded Ben Yehuda market area when an off-duty Israel soldier climbed onto the bulldozer and shot the driver at close range.
Mr. MICKEY ROSENFELD (Police Spokesman): He moved to the side and opened fire, shooting and killing the terrorist at the scene and preventing him from making his way into the marketplace.
WESTERVELT: Near the overturned city bus, a child's jacket, a stuffed animal, and a crate of eggs lay on the ground amid broken glass. Witness Shai Rahmanov.
Mr. RAHMANOV: (Through translator) When we realized the driver was down, we ran to the bus and started pulling people out and helping them.
WESTERVELT: At least three militant Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for the attack, including the Galilee Brigade, the same group that claimed responsibility for the March shooting rampage at a religious school here that killed eight Jewish students. Today's claims could not be independently verified, and it's not clear what sparked Hossam Dwayyat, from East Jerusalem, to kill with his bulldozer. The 30-year-old construction worker and father of two had a criminal record but as yet no known association with any militant factions. His family today said they were shocked but refused to say more to reporters.
And despite claims of responsibility from militant groups and assertions by Israeli security officials that this was a terrorist attack, Israeli police chief Dudi Cohen tonight said investigators believe so far that Dwayyat acted alone and spontaneously. Eric Westervelt, NPR News, Jerusalem.
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