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Caught on camera: Pakistani cab driver attempts to run over Jewish students, Rabbi in NY's Brooklyn (WATCH)

A disturbing incident unfolded on Wednesday in Brooklyn, New York, as a Pakistani taxi driver, identified as 58-year-old Asghar Ali, allegedly attempted to run over Jewish students and a rabbi outside a Jewish school.

Caught on camera: Pakistani cab driver attempts to run over Jewish students, Rabbi in NY's Brooklyn (WATCH) snt
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First Published May 30, 2024, 2:41 PM IST

A disturbing incident unfolded on Wednesday in Brooklyn, New York, as a Pakistani taxi driver, identified as 58-year-old Asghar Ali, allegedly attempted to run over Jewish students and a rabbi outside a Jewish school. Witnesses reported hearing him shout threatening remarks aimed at the Jewish community. The event was captured on video by the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol.

In a terrifying moment caught on camera, the attacker accelerated his vehicle toward Orthodox Jews outside Mesivta Nachlas Yakov School in Canarsie around 11:25 AM local time. This act of aggression has sparked widespread concern.

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David G. Greenfield, an American politician, responded, highlighting the gravity of the situation: "Insane: Man tries to run over Jewish students in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is home to the largest population of Orthodox Jews in the world."

Asghar Ali, a Pakistani immigrant employed as a cab driver, has been identified as the perpetrator of the attempted attack. Reports indicate that he has a documented history of mental illness. Following the incident, the New York Police Department's Hate Crimes Task Force launched an investigation into the matter. Asghar was apprehended for questioning.

He has been charged with multiple offenses, including attempted murder, attempted assault, and hate crimes. While initial inquiries have not uncovered any direct ties to terrorism, authorities are examining whether Asghar had any online connections to radical groups.

During the attack, Asghar was driving a 2011 white Crown Victoria. He maneuvered his vehicle onto East 55th Street, directly in front of the Yeshiva, and abruptly veered towards the students, who were identifiable by their Orthodox uniforms. After this initial attempt, he circled the block and returned to target two additional students and a rabbi. Fortunately, all the intended victims managed to seek refuge inside the building, and no injuries were reported as a result of the attack.

Rabbi Twersky recalled the incident and said, “The driver tried to strike one of the boys who was on his phone at the corner of Glenwood Road and East 55 Street. He then drove up the wrong side of East 56 Street towards a group of 30 to 40 students.” 

Following the attack, a police car was stationed outside the Yeshiva as a precautionary measure. Although Asghar initially evaded capture, members of the Shomrim Safety Patrol later detained him near a Dunkin' Donuts outlet.

“We were able to retrieve the video footage and the car’s plate number. One of our members spotted the car during his daily patrol," said Bob Moskovitz, executive coordinator of the patrol.

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Asghar immigrated to the USA two decades ago. His previous encounters with the law include four prior arrests. In 1998, he was arrested for false personation. Despite claiming to be a cab driver, he did not possess a valid TLC license, according to police records.

Moskovitz added, “We are very pleased to have apprehended this individual. This is not someone we want driving around, especially with the current antisemitic climate. The community can now feel a bit more relaxed.”

Asghar was sent to Coney Island Hospital for evaluation after questioning.

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