A man has rammed his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers on a popular promenade in Jerusalem, killing four people and injuring about 15 others in what police have described as a deliberate attack.
"It is a terrorist attack, a ramming attack," a police spokeswoman said on Israel Radio.
It was the deadliest Palestinian attack in Jerusalem in months and targeted officer cadets who were disembarking from a bus that brought them to the Armon Hanatziv promenade, a stone-laden and grass-lined walkway with a panoramic view of the walled Old City.
Police said the dead, three women and one man, were all in their twenties. Soldiers' deaths are announced in Israel only after families are notified.
Roni Alsheich, the national police chief, told reporters he could not rule out that the Palestinian was motivated by last month's truck ramming attack in a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people.
"It is certainly possible to be influenced by watching TV, but it is difficult to get into the head of every individual to determine what prompted him, but there is no doubt that these things do have an effect," Chief Alsheich told reporters.
Four Israeli soldiers died and 15 are injured when a truck deliberately rams into a crowd, police say
A wave of Palestinian street attacks, including vehicle rammings, has largely slowed but not stopped completely since it began in October 2015.
Security camera footage showed the truck racing towards the soldiers, and then after a gap that apparently included scenes of caage, reversing into them.
"In a split second I looked to my left and saw what I can only describe as a speeding truck which sent me flying," a security guard, who was identified only as "A" told Channel 10.
"It was a miracle that my pistol stayed on me. I shot at a tyre but realised there was no point as he has many wheels, so I ran in front of the cabin and at an angle I shot at him and emptied my magazine. When I finished shooting, some of the officer cadets also took aim and also started firing."
The footage showed many of the soldiers fleeing the scene as the attack took place, their rifles slung on their shoulders. Questions were already being raised in the Israeli media why more of the soldiers did not engage the attacker.
Israeli security forces work at the scene of a truck ramming incident in Jerusalem
PHOTO: The truck driver was shot dead, police said. (Reuters: Ronen Zvulun)
Rescue workers said about 15 injured people were strewn on the street at the promenade as ambulances raced to the scene. The Israeli military regularly takes soldiers on educational tours of Jerusalem, including the Armon Hanatziv vantage point.
Local television said the soldiers' tour guide also fired at the assailant.
Palestinian street assaults over the past 15 months have killed at least 37 Israelis and two visiting Americans.
At least 231 Palestinians have been killed in violence in Israel, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip during that period.
Israel says at least 157 of them were assailants in lone attacks often targeting security forces and using rudimentary weapons including kitchen knives. Others died during clashes and protests.