An Israeli border policeman fires a tear gas canister towards Palestinian stone-throwers.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced Monday the arrest of several suspects who allegedly took part in firebombings and rock-throwing attacks on Israeli targets in recent months.
In a joint Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police-Judea and Samaria District operation, security forces arrested four suspects from Hizma, northeast of Jerusalem, who allegedly took part in rock-throwing and firebomb attacks on Israeli buses and cars.
The attacks included three incidents that resulted in wounds. On April 7, an Israeli bus near Hizma came under rock and firebomb assault, lightly wounding the driver in his shoulder and sending five passengers into a state of shock.
On June 21, a bus traveling on Route 437 toward Adam Square, near Hizma, was pelted with rocks, shattering glass and lightly wounding the bus driver.
Concrete blocks and firebombs were hurled at an Israeli bus traveling from Hizma to Almon on July 26, causing the bus driver to lose consciousness from his wounds, and sending three passengers into shock.
The Shin Bet said it had four suspects in custody, aged 21 to 28, some of whom confessed during questioning.
“We collected many pieces of evidence,” the intelligence agency said.
The four have been charged at the Judea military court with a series of offenses.
In a separate investigation, security forces arrested a resident of the village of Anabta, near Tulkarm in Samaria. The suspect allegedly took part in unorganized violence, including hurling rocks from his car at an Israeli vehicle on Route 557 in the West Bank.
The Shin Bet named the suspect as a 30-year-old engineer, who has been known to be part of unorganized terrorist activities since the late 1990s.
During a stop-and-search check by the IDF, soldiers discovered a large rock near the driver’s seat of his vehicle.
The suspect, named by the Shin Bet as Mahmoud Mar’i, confessed during questioning to the attacks, adding that he planned to hurl the rock that was in his car before being arrested.
In August, the military prosecution charged Mari’i with hurling objects out of a moving vehicle and endangering lives on a transportation lane.
Palestinians continued to attack Israelis with stones on Monday, both in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
A riot broke out sporadically in Hebron near Machsom Hashoter (the policeman’s checkpoint) in which 100 Palestinians threw rocks at the soldiers stationed there. The IDF dispersed them with tear gas.
A woman was lightly wounded when Palestinians threw stones at her car near the village of Beit Sahur, just by the checkpoint into the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa.
On Sunday, some 60 Palestinians threw stones at that same spot in the road, damaging three vehicles, including one with a woman and her five-month-old baby.
All the passengers escaped unscathed.
Setters from the Gush Etzion region, particularly from the nearby Tekoa settlement, held a small demonstration at that same spot on the road on Monday evening.
To underscore the potential danger of stone-throwing, they placed baby seats on the road and lay stones on top of them, some with red paint.
Under the slogan, “We do not want to be next in line,” they held signs with the names of victims of past rock attacks on the roads in Judea and Samaria. This included Adele Biton, who died at age four last February, after a twoyear battle to survive wounds she sustained in a rock attack on Route 5 near Ariel. The sign also listed Asher Palmer and his infant son, Yonatan, after their vehicle was attacked by stones near Kiryat Arba.
Gush Etizon Regional Council head Davidi Perl charged that the government has not done enough to provide security for the residents of Judea and Samaria. He called on the government to hold an immediate discussion on the matter.
“The difference between almost a disaster and a disaster is too close for comfort,” Perl said.