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On 22 September 2008, a Palestinian drove a BMW saloon car into a group of civilians and off-duty soldiers in a terrorist ramming attack in Jerusalem, Israel, injuring 19. According to Stratfor Global Intelligence analysts, this attack represents a new militant tactic which is less lethal but could prove more difficult to prevent than suicide bombings.[1]

2008 Jerusalem BMW attack
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The attack site
LocationJerusalem, Israel
Coordinates31°46′44″N 35°13′30″E / 31.77889°N 35.22500°E / 31.77889; 35.22500
Date22 September 2008 (UTC+02:00)
Attack type
Vehicle-ramming attack
WeaponsBMW saloon car
Deaths1 (the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorQassem Mughrabi



The attack was a third in a series of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem involving a new tactic, using vehicles as weapons; the others were the 2 July 2008 Jerusalem bulldozer attack and a similar attack with a Backhoe loader on 22 July.[2] The Jerusalem Post has termed them "ramming terror attacks."[3] According to Stratfor, the American global intelligence firm, "while not thus far as deadly as suicide bombing", this tactic could prove more difficult to prevent. No single group has claimed responsibility for the incidents.[1]

On 2 July 2008, Husam Tayseer Dwayat, an Arab Israeli citizen from the Sur Baher neighborhood of East Jerusalem drove an earthmover along Jaffa Road in West Jerusalem, slamming into a bus and passing cars. Four people were killed and another 45 were injured.[1]

Later that month, on 22 July 2008, Ghassan Abu Tir, from the Umm Tuba neighborhood of East Jerusalem, drove a front-loader into traffic on King David Street in West Jerusalem, slamming into a bus and passing cars. Sixteen people were injured.[1]

Patrick Martin, writing in The Globe and Mail in 2016, discussed this attack as an example of copycat terrorism.[4]

The attackEdit

On 22 September 2008, the perpetrator, Qassem Mughrabi (alt. Qasim al-Mughabi), a 19-year-old Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem's Jabal Mukaber neighborhood, drove a black BMW Saloon into a group of civilians and off-duty soldiers standing on a Jerusalem street.[5][6][dead link] 19 people were injured.[7]

Mughrabi was shot dead at the scene[8] by off-duty soldier Lt. Elad Amar. Amar told Army Radio that the attacker "drove towards the soldiers at top speed, plowed onto the traffic island, ran over soldiers and civilians and then continued, ramming into a building. At that point I assessed that it was a terror attack and decided to neutralize the driver so that he wouldn't be able to reverse the car and continue the attack."[9]

The perpetratorEdit

According to the Palestinian Ma'an news agency, Qassem Mughrabi was a member of Hamas.[10] Mughrabi's family denied that the event was a terror attack. Mahmoud Mughrabi, Qassem's father, said his son did not have a driving license and apparently lost control of the car. "My son was murdered, they killed him. He did not carry out a terrorist attack. This was a car accident." However, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said authorities were convinced the attack was politically motivated. "We're 100 percent sure ... he deliberately drove into people," Rosenfeld said.[11]

A number of Israeli Members of Parliament called for the demolition of the home of the perpetrator, as a means of discouraging future attacks.[12]

Vehicle ramming as a trendEdit

This was one of a small cluster of terrorist vehicle-ramming attacks in Jerusalem in this period.[13] Articles in New York Magazine, Breitbart News, Haaretz, The Times of Israel, and other publications cite this attack as harbingers of the terrorist vehicle-ramming attacks that would occur worldwide in the 2010s.[14][15][16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Israel: Vehicle Attacks - A New Militant Tactic?. Stratfor Global Intelligence
  2. ^ Entous, Adam (22 September 2008). "New Jeruslem vehicle "attack" as Livni seeks govt". Reuters India. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  3. ^ Background: Ramming terror attacks in recent years, by JPOST.COM STAFF, Yaakov Lappin, Etgar Lefkovits, 29/08/2011, Jerusalem Post [1]
  4. ^ Martin, Patrick (15 July 2016). "Amid such chaos comes fears of emulation: With vehicles increasingly being used as weapons by lone-wolf killers, history suggests the threat of copy-cat attacks is very real". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  5. ^ Palestinian Car Rams Israelis, By Isabel Kershner, 22 September 2008, New York Times [2]
  6. ^ 22 September 2008, 15 wounded in terror attack at busy Jerusalem intersection, By Etgar Lefkovits, Shelly Paz, Jerusalem Post [3]
  7. ^ Terrorist in car rams 19 in J'lem, By Jonathan Lis
  8. ^ Palestinian drives into crowd, injures 15, police say, CNN
  9. ^ 'He drove towards group at top speed,' The Jerusalem Post, 23 September 2008
  10. ^ 'J'lem terrorist was a Hamas member', by Etgar Lefkovits, The Jerusalem Post 23 September 2008 [4][permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Father of Jerusalem attacker: My son's no terrorist". Haaretz. 23 September 2008. Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
  12. ^ Selig, Abe (6 October 2008). "MKs visit east J'lem to push for demolition of terrorists' homes". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  13. ^ Lappin, Yaakov (29 August 2011). "Background: Ramming Terror Attacks in Recent Years". Jeruslaem Post. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  14. ^ Raymond, Adam (18 August 2017). "The Rise of Truck Attacks, the Terror Tactic of Today". New York. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  15. ^ Sommer, Alison Kaplan (7 June 2017). "Concrete Barriers on the Street: Facing Terror Wave, London Adopts Israeli-style Measures". Haaretz. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  16. ^ Lidman, Melanie (4 August 2014). "In tractor rampage, a return to a familiar, and deadly, terror method". Times of Israel. Retrieved 28 September 2017.

External linksEdit