Three IDF soldiers were wounded in a car-ramming attack by a Palestinian assailant, while another terrorist attempted to attack security forces.
By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
On Saturday, a 23-year-old member of the Palestinian Security Services accelerated and then deliberately drove his vehicle into a group of Israeli soldiers conducting routine security activity near the West Bank town of Beit Ummar. Troops nearby responded to the incident with live fire, neutralizing the Palestinian assailant, who was identified as Mohammed Baradeya, a 23-year-old resident of Zurif.
All of the injured soldiers, aged in the 20s, were evacuated to hospital for medical treatment, including two in critically condition.
In a separate incident on Friday, a Bedouin Muslim seized and shot the weapon of an Israeli police officer during a security check at the Chain Gate of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Fellow members of the unit opened fire killing the assailant, later identified as Mohammad Khaled al-Osaib, 26, of the Bedouin town Hura in southern Israel.
“The incident was dealt with swiftly, efficiently and did not negatively impact any activity taking place on the Temple Mount,” said Israel Police Commander of the David Precinct Avi Cohen.
Bedouin towns and villages declared a two-day strike as tribal leaders demanded the opening of a commission of inquiry into the deadly incident.
Following a situation assessment with Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov “Kobi” Shabtai, Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman, said that all evidence of the attack has been corroborated, demonstrating that the officers reacted to the incident “in an exemplary manner.”
The attack occurred adjacent to the Al Aqsa Mosque complex, an icon of Palestinian nationalism, at a high point of Muslim attendance for the holy month of Ramadan amid heightened fears of an escalation in violence.
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir also issued a statement in support of the officers.
In related developments, IDF, Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and Border Police Special Operations units conducted counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria overnight as part of Operation Waves Breaker.
Two men were arrested in Nablus early this morning on suspicion of assisting the assailant who carried out the 25 March shooting attack in Huwara that injured two IDF soldiers. During the mission, several armed gunmen fired at the forces, who responded with live fire. Two Palestinian militants were killed during the gunbattle, including one operative affiliated to the Lion’s Den terror group and the other to the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction.
In other activity, the Israeli forces located and confiscated a vehicle used by the Palestinian terrorist who shot and killed Israeli brothers IDF Staff Sergeant Hillel Menahim Yaniv, 22, and Yagel Yaakov Yaniv, 20, in Huwara on 26 February. Another wanted individual suspected of involvement in terrorist activity was apprehended in the town of Wadi Siman overnight.
No IDF injuries were reported in any of the operations.
Also today, an IDF fighter jet intercepted an unidentified aircraft over the Gaza Strip. The aircraft was detected and monitored by the Israel Air Force Aerial Control Unit until its interception. It did not cross into Israeli territory and did not pose a threat at any stage, said the IDF.
“We are acting against terrorism with all means and we are doing so in two ways: First, we are taking action and confronting the terrorists themselves. In recent months, our forces have eliminated dozens of terrorists and have arrested hundreds more,” stressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in opening remarks at his weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, adding that he gives his “full backing to the Israel Police for thwarting the terrorist on the Temple Mount over the weekend. We are all praying for the well-being of the soldier who was wounded in the ramming attack last night in Gush Etzion.”
Underscoring that the defense establishment will take any action, anywhere to safeguard the nation and it citizens, Netanyahu asserted, “We are exacting a high price from the regimes that support terrorism, beyond Israel’s borders.”
The Israeli leader also cautioned the nation’s enemies not to mistakenly think that Israel’s current internal debate over judicial reform could “detract one iota from our determination, strength and ability to act against our enemies on all fronts, wherever and whenever necessary.”