Palestinian kills 2 Israeli soldiers in car-ramming attack

March 16, 2018
A protester waves his national flag while others standing during clashes with Israeli troops on the Israeli border with Gaza, east of Gaza City, Friday, March 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian killed two Israeli soldiers and badly wounded two others when he rammed his vehicle into them in the West Bank on Friday, the military said.

The Palestinian intentionally ran over soldiers on duty securing routes near the settlement of Mevo Dotan, close to the Palestinian city of Jenin, it said. An officer was killed along with a soldier while another two soldiers were seriously hurt, it added, saying the Palestinian driver was injured and hospitalized for treatment.

A military spokesman called the incident a “terror attack.”

Israel’s Shin Bet security service said the attacker had spent time in prison for security offenses and was freed last year.

Media showed footage of a smashed and mangled white car. Channel 10 TV said the Palestinian ploughed the vehicle into the group of soldiers as they dismounted from a jeep and walked toward a guard post.

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who heads Cogat, the Israeli defense body for Palestinian civilian affairs, ordered in response to the attack “an immediate and broad suspension” of permits for employment in Israel “for the entire family of the assailant.”

The incident came as Palestinians protested across the West Bank and the Gaza border marking 100 days since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Dozens sustained light to moderate injuries in clashes with Israeli forces on Friday.

Gaza’s rulers, the Islamic militant group Hamas, issued a statement praising the “operation” but did not take responsibility for the attack.

“This uprising against the (Jerusalem) decision and occupation is not a wave of rage, but a continued action until freedom,” it said.

The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as their future capital and view Trump’s decision as siding with Israel on one of the thorniest issues at the heart of the conflict. Palestinian officials say the move disqualifies Washington from its traditional role as Mideast peace broker.

Palestinians have held regular protests since Trump’s Dec. 6 declaration, often clashing with Israeli forces.