Infant killed in Jerusalem light rail attack was U.S. citizen

Chaya Zissel Braun, killed in Wednesday's Jerusalem light rail attack. Credit: Provided photo.

( Three-month-old infant Chaya Zissel Braun, who died in the hospital after her stroller was hit in Wednesday’s vehicular terror attack on the Ammunition Hill light rail station in Jerusalem, was a U.S. citizen. 

“We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Chaya and her parents were on their way back from the infant’s first visit to the Western Wall. 

“They had their picture taken,” said Chaya’s grandfather, Shimshon Halperin, according to Israel Hayom. “They held her in the direction of the Temple Mount. They told her ‘that is where the Temple was, and that is Temple Mount.’”

The parents had just gotten off the light rail. The attacker waited for people to gather at the station and then accelerated, driving directly into the crowd.

“The car hit the baby’s stroller,” Halperin said. “The baby flew 10 or 20 meters (30-60 feet) in the air and hit her head on the concrete. The doctors at the hospital did the best they could. I want to thank them.”

Chaya’s parents had “waited for a baby for several years,” said Halperin. 

“The parents are in shock,” he said. “They are traumatized. The baby was born after a long period of time that they did not have children, and they were overjoyed at her arrival. I have been living in the U.S. for 40 years, but we were here with them for the holiday. I kept joking that God sent them a gift from heaven.”

The attacker, 21-year-old eastern Jerusalem resident Abed al-Rahman Shaludi, was shot by a police officer and later died of his wounds in hospital. Shaludi was a Hamas activist who had been imprisoned in Israel for 16 months for security offenses. Released from prison in December 2013, Shaludi was the nephew of Mohiyedine Sharif, a one-time commander of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam brigades.

Posted on October 23, 2014 .