Atleast 14 Israeli soldiers injured In an attack claimed by Palestinian group Hamas

Atleast 14 Israeli soldiers injured In an attack claimed by Palestinian group Hamas

JERUSALEM: A car-ramming targeting Israeli troops in Jerusalem wounded 14 people early Thursday in an attack that Palestinian group Hamas hailed as a response to Washington's controversial Middle East peace plan.

A manhunt was underway for the driver who fled the scene outside a popular Jerusalem entertainment spot. The attack occurred shortly before 2:00 am (2400 GMT) outside the First Station, an historic Ottoman-era railway terminus that has been turned into a cultural and entertainment centre with bars and restaurants.

The attacker struck in the street outside where the soldiers had been marching, the army said. One of then soldiers was "severely injured" and has been evacuated to hospital. Public radio said they were new recruits on their way to an induction ceremony at Jerusalem´s Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.

"During the incident, a terrorist sped his car towards (Israeli) soldiers," the army said. Israeli troops "are currently pursuing the terrorist who escaped the scene." Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said "the incident is being investigated as a terror attack." There have been car-rammings targeting Israeli troops in the past, in the occupied West Bank as well as Jerusalem.

The Hamas movement, which controls Gaza, hailed the car-ramming as a "practical response" to US President Donald Trump's controversial Middle East peace plan. In a statement, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the attack was part of the "resistance operation" but stopped short of claiming responsibility.

It came amid heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, since the release last month of US President Donald Trump's long-awaited peace proposals. The Palestinians have angrily rejected the plan, which unilaterally gives Israel most of what it has sought in previous negotiations. -APP/AFP

Middle East