JERUSALEM, Israel – A Palestinian with an Israeli work permit plowed into a checkpoint on a major Tel-Aviv Jerusalem highway Thursday, killing one Israeli and wounding five others, three of whom were soldiers.
The attack followed several others on Wednesday, including a bomb blast at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus that wounded four soldiers, a ramming attack that injured another soldier south of Hebron, and a stabbing at a Jerusalem light rail station that wounded an Israeli civilian.
Police shot and killed the driver in Thursday’s attack after he made a U-turn on the Israeli side of a checkpoint on Highway 443 near the city of Modiin and ran over several off-duty soldiers before trying to reach another checkpoint.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant sent condolences to the family of the person killed and said in a statement, “This is an attack with serious consequences. (My) full appreciation to the security forces for their determined action that led to the elimination of the terrorist in a short time.”
The military will no doubt further tighten security measures following the checkpoint incident and Wednesday’s bomb blast in Nablus (biblical Shechem).
An officer was among the wounded soldiers, who were securing the route to the entrance area of Joseph’s Tomb for busloads of Orthodox Israelis who make frequent pilgrimages to the site.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed responsibility for the attack at Joseph’s Tomb. According to The Jerusalem Post, The local branch of the group’s Al Quds brigade warned Israelis, saying, “Our land is forbidden to you, and Joseph’s Tomb is your tomb.”
Hamas Spokesman Muhammed Hamadeh added his own threat, saying, “The enemy government must listen carefully to the soldiers’ screams after detonating the device in Nablus, because it will be a regular event if the enemy thinks of invading cities and villages and terrorizing our peaceful people, and the resistance will continue its work and surprises until victory is achieved.”
The Israeli Defense Forces said, “The explosion occurred where security forces were operating to secure the routes, not on the route (itself) for the entrance of civilians to the compound. The entrance of worshippers to Joseph’s Tomb will continue as usual,” the IDF said.
One wounded soldier was listed in moderate condition and the other three were in good condition.
In Wednesday’s attack at Beit Hagai in the Judean Hills south of Hebron, a car sped toward a security post, hitting and injuring a soldier, who was reported to be in good condition afterwards. The Palestinian driver was “neutralized,” according to authorities. Just 10 days ago, a mother of three was murdered and another man seriously wounded near the same location.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, witnesses to the light raiil stabbing say they tried to disarm the 14-year-old attacker before he was shot and killed Wednesday evening by a border police officer. The victim, a 22-year-old Israeli man, was stabbed in the back and was treated by paramedics before being transported to a Jerusalem hospital. He was in moderate condition.
Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have repeatedly accused Iran of supporting and funding the spike in violence in Judea and Samaria. Israel’s Channel 12 reported earlier this month that the nation’s military and security presence in the West Bank has reached the highest level in 15 years.