In the second such attack this month, a Palestinian construction worker driving an earthmover went on a rampage on a busy Jerusalem street Tuesday afternoon, injuring 16 people – one seriously – before being shot to death.
The attack occurred a block from the King David Hotel, where Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was due to stay Tuesday night. Obama had not arrived at the time, and police said they did not believe there was any connection between the rampage and the senator’s scheduled visit.
Still, the attack reinforced fears in Jerusalem, which until this spring had enjoyed four years of relative quiet. Tuesday’s rampage followed an eerily similar incident just three weeks ago, when another Palestinian construction worker used an earthmover to ram cars and buses, killing three people and wounding more than 40. In March, a gunman killed eight students at a rabbinical seminary.
In all three incidents, a Palestinian resident of mostly Arab East Jerusalem crossed into predominantly Jewish West Jerusalem to carry out an attack.
Tuesday’s assailant was identified as Ghasan Abu Teir, 23, who had been operating the earthmover at the nearby construction site of a luxury apartment complex. At his East Jerusalem home, family members said they were in shock. “He has no political affiliation,” said a cousin, Mustafa Abu Teir.
Government wins no-confidence vote
India’s government survived a bruising political battle to win a confidence vote Tuesday, reviving a landmark nuclear energy deal with the United States that is at the center of an emerging partnership between the world’s two largest democracies.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Congress party fought hard to secure victory, and appeared to cut back-room deals when all else failed. An airport was named after one lawmaker’s father, another was promised a high-level job and – rival politicians allege – many others received millions of dollars in bribes.
The dealmaking dismayed many in India, and the political hostility it fostered was on display during Tuesday’s parliamentary debate, which repeatedly degenerated into an angry back-and-forth as opposition lawmakers heckled government supporters.
The ruckus forced a temporary adjournment of Parliament – but the stunt failed to stave off the opposition’s defeat.
The government won with 275 votes for it and 256 against, a wider margin than many observers had predicted.