Palestinian driver says deadly car attack was deliberate


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian man who rammed his car into two Israelis at a Jerusalem bus stop, killing one and critically injuring the other, admitted that the attack was deliberate.

Khaled Kotina, 37, of eastern Jerusalem, said he intended to harm Jews and made the decision shortly before he committed the attack in the French Hill neighborhood, the Shin Bet security service announced Tuesday.

Kotina said he drove along Highway 1 in Jerusalem looking for Jewish people to run over. He identified his victims by their clothing, according to the Shin Bet.

Shalom Sharki, 25, of Jerusalem, died hours after the attack of his injuries. A 20-year-old woman remains in critical condition.

During his interrogation, Kotina told the Shin Bet that he suffers from mental health problems and that he pretended to be insane during a psychiatric examination following his arrest. Israel Police said that the psychological assessment found Kotina fit to stand trial.

The Shin Bet said it determined that Kotina’s decision to perpetrate the attack was based on nationalistic motives, not impulse. Kotina is married with no children and has no criminal record.

Police had originally treated the April 16 incident near the border of eastern and western Jerusalem as an accident.

There have been several terror attacks in recent months in which cars were used to ram pedestrians in Jerusalem. In one such incident in October, two people were killed, including a 3-month-old girl.

Recommended from JTA