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On Palestinian Social Media, Car Attacks Lauded as the New “Martyrdom Operations”

Since the beginning of 2014, at least four terror attacks have been carried out in Israel using motor vehicles as a weapon. The attacks left four people dead and 30 wounded, many of them seriously. Two of these attacks took place yesterday, when two Palestinian drivers drove their cars into groups of Israeli pedestrians.

Many Palestinian leaders welcomed this method of attack. In online forums and social networks it has been dubbed “the new suicide attack” and “martyrdom operation”.

Islamic Jihad official Fouad Al-Razam said (Arabic link) that the last vehicle terror attack brought back prestige and honor to the Palestinian people. Hamas official Fathi Hammad said (Arabic link):

“The running over operations in Jerusalem are a serious warning sign for the occupation, which has to bear the consequences of damaging the holy places”

The “running over” terrorist attacks are well-known to the Israeli security services. This type of attack has become a common method among young Palestinians, especially from East Jerusalem, against Israeli security forces and citizens in the city.

Unlike other terrorist attacks, such as shootings or suicide operations, which require special measures and equipment, the “running over” terrorist attacks require only a vehicle.

This is why these attacks are in most cases personal initiatives, which require only organizational encouragement but no operational assistance. This is also one of the reasons for the difficulty of the security forces and the Israeli intelligence to anticipate and prevent these attacks.

The first “running-over” attack that was documented in the history of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians took place in February 1987 when a terrorist crashed his vehicle into an Israeli military patrol in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus. This kind of terrorist attack increased in the 90s after the signing of the Oslo Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian security services of the Palestinian Authority.

After the second intifada there have been several fatal vehicle attacks, especially in Jerusalem, using heavy construction equipment as the weapon.

[Photo: order_242 / flickr]