A Palestinian driver with a history of anti-Israel violence crashed into a crowded train station in Jerusalem on Wednesday in an apparent terrorist attack, killing a three-month old baby American girl and wounding eight Israelis.
The car hit the train station just yards from the national headquarters for Israel’s police force, according to Reuters. The driver, reportedly Abed Abdelrahman Shaludeh, got out of the car after hitting the station and attempted to flee, but was shot by police. The Times of Israel reports that Shaludeh, 21, died early Thursday evening from his injures.
“We look at this incident as a terrorist attack,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The driver, who lived in east Jerusalem in Silwan, appeared to deliberately strike those waiting at the train station. He “has served time in Israeli prison for terrorism.” He is in serious condition.
The infant, Chaya Zissel Braun, died later of her injuries, according to Haaretz. Her parents, both American citizens, were also injured in the attack.
“She is a pure baby girl who hasn’t done anything bad to anyone,” the girl’s grandfather Shimshon Halperin told Channel 2 TV. “She was murdered for no reason.”
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Wednesday evening. “We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured.”
“We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.”
East Jerusalem, the part of the country which militant Palestinians claim as their future capital, has been in serious unrest in the past several months. The area has suffered attacks almost daily since the region’s war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza this summer.
“Terrorist attacks like today’s in Jerusalem are typical of Hamas, [Palestinian] President Abbas’s partner in the Palestinian government,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev said.
“This is the way in which Abu Mazen’s [Abbas’] partners in government operate,” said a statement from Netanyahu’s office.