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A Crushing Attack in Jerusalem

Ynet also reported that the driver of the earthmover had a criminal record and was well-known to police.

A previously unknown organization called "Free People of the Galilee" telephoned the Palestinian news agency Maan, based in Bethlehem, to take responsibility for the attack, according to the Israeli media.

But police do not believe the organization, which claims to represent disgruntled Israeli-Arabs, actually exists.

At 2 p.m. Israel time, the chief of the Jerusalem police told reporters, as seen on Channel 10 (Hebrew link), that the man was suspected of being a lone wolf who committed the attack for no apparent reason. He was not suspected of having connections to any terror organization, but special units were nonetheless dispatched to comb his East Jerusalem neighborhood and interview residents.

Hamas predictably stated that the attack was the natural expression of rage against Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, but did not claim responsibility for its execution.

But that doesn't mean all was quiet in Gaza. Just as the pictures of the Jerusalem attack were first being broadcast on Israeli television, the news broke that thousands of Palestinians tried to storm the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

The effort was unsuccessful -- the crowds were pushed back by Egyptian soldiers.

For a few minutes it felt as though Israel was again under attack from all sides, but the Israeli security services -- never known to minimize possible danger when lives are at stake -- continued to insist that the Jerusalem incident was not a terror attack.

As the dust settled, it became clear that the fragile ceasefire with Hamas-controlled Gaza would continue to hold for the time being, but there is no real sense of short-term security in the Wild Middle East -- let alone long-term peace.