The incident occurred in Beersheba yesterday morning just one day after two deadly terrorist bombings in Jerusalem.
By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) cadet, 18, was moderately injured in the attack while wearing his uniform e route to the IAF Technological College in the southern Israeli city.
Surveillance cameras caught the moment when the assailant drove onto a sidewalk where it appeared that he deliberately hit the victim, and then attempt to flee the area.
“I heard a car accelerate, I managed to turn back a bit to look over my shoulder and I saw him speed towards me,” said the young serviceman, who is performing his national compulsory military service. After being struck, he pushed himself from the windshield and tried to drag himself away despite a broken leg.
As a passerby called an ambulance for an ambulance, the driver of the vehicle was apprehended by security services roughly 100 meters away from the crime scene.
Despite claims that he had lost control of his vehicle, the 39-year-old resident of the predominately Arab Bedouin city of Rahat, will likely be prosecuted for attempted murder motivated by terrorism, said police.
Following a situation assessment of all angles conducted from a wide scope of intelligence in the investigation it was concluded that the ramming was “deliberately perpetrated,” said Israel Police Negev Precinct Commander Assistant Commissioner Nahshon Nagler. “The response of our police officers here was very quick within context of our heightened preparedness to contend with security and criminal matters,” he added.
In other terror-related developments, a surviving victim of the twin bombings in Jerusalem on Wednesday is still fighting for his life. The man, aged around 50, sustained severe head injuries similar to those that killed 15-year-old dual Israeli Canadian citizen yeshiva student, Aryeh Schupak and wounded scores of others.
“There are many elements in the region that are trying to destabilize reality. We work against them constantly and in all arenas. The time of the perpetrators of terror attacks, the planners of the attacks, and the financiers of the attacks has been restricted,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said at a security briefing to the IDF Central Command. “We have an excellent army, police and security service – who will ensure to get their hands on them and continue to thwart terrorism anywhere, anytime and by any means. We are deployed broadly across the field – and are increasing intelligence activity and expanding the scope of the forces in the field in order to maintain security for the citizens of Israel,” he vowed.
Meanwhile, the body of an Israeli teen abducted by terrorists from Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin on Tuesday has been returned following extensive efforts by the defense establishment in coordination with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Tiran Fero, a 17-year-old Israeli-Druze high school student from Daliat al-Carmel, was hospitalized in the West Bank Palestinian city after being injured in a nearby car accident. 20 armed terrorists forcibly removed the victim after subsequently storming the facility.
Stressing that it was “made it clear to the PA that it could either act to return the body or we will go in and take it on our own,” an Israeli official emphasized that there had been no direct negotiation with the terrorists.
Defense Minister Gantz thanked the PA, who he said had “worked tirelessly” for the return of Tero’s body,” saying, “this is a basic, humanitarian measure taken after a horrific incident.”
While Tero’s father Husam insists that his son was still alive when the assailants disconnected him from the life-saving medical equipment that later caused his death, the Israeli military believes the teen had already died when his body was abducted. Circumstances of the death remain under investigation.
No terror groups have claimed responsibility for the crime, although they have in the past kidnapped or seized the bodies of fallen Israelis in an attempt to gain concessions from Jerusalem in return for the freeing of imprisoned Palestinians.