Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino
vowed Friday to bring to justice those who threw a Molotov cocktail at a
Palestinian taxi outside the Gush Etzion settlement of Bat Ayin on Thursday
Six people were lightly to moderately wounded, including two
An initial investigation raised fears that Jewish extremists
perpetrated the attack.
Netanyahu held a rare phone conversation Saturday
night with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to wish him well on the
occasion of Id al-Fitr. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, during the
conversation Netanyahu discussed the attack, and again promised that all efforts
would be made to arrest those responsible.
This was the third time since
the attack Thursday evening that the PMO issued statements saying Netanyahu
promised that all efforts would be made to bring the perpetrators to
On Friday, Netanyahu sent a message to Abbas and PA Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad, saying that he viewed the firebomb attack as a “very
serious” offense and that all efforts would be made to bring the perpetrators to
Netanyahu’s special envoy Yitzhak Molcho called PA chief
negotiator Saeb Erekat with the message for Abbas and Fayyad. The prime minister
added that he would ensure the victims of the attack were receiving proper
During a briefing held at the Temple Mount complex on
the occasion of the last Friday of Ramadan, Danino referred to the attack as “a
very severe incident” and said he had instructed police to do whatever it took
to arrest the would-be killers as soon as possible.
The police “won’t
allow extremist criminals to disrupt and inflame daily life across Israel, in
particular in areas that are especially sensitive,” he said.
The US State
Department issued a statement on Friday saying “We extend our deepest sympathies
to the victims, among them children, and we hope for their speedy
We note that the government of Israel has also condemned this
heinous attack and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice. We look to
Israeli law enforcement officials to do so expeditiously. We urge all parties to
avoid any actions that could lead to an escalation of violence.”
and Samaria Division Brig.-Gen. Hagai Mordechai said Thursday that the incident
could compromise security and stability in the West Bank.
night, Mordechai increased IDF presence along friction points on West Bank
A security source said it would have been obvious to the
assailants that they were targeting a Palestinian taxi, because the attack
occurred in daylight in a place with good visibility.
The yellow vehicle
with a green Palestinian license plate, typical of West Bank Palestinian taxis,
could not have been mistaken for any other kind of vehicle, the security source
But, the source added, that the investigation was still in its
According to the police, the taxi flipped and burst into
flames after the Molotov cocktail hit it. Paramedics soon evacuated all six
wounded to Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
said they found a second, ready-to-use Molotov cocktail near the site of the
firebombing. They would not comment as to whether Jewish extremists firebombed
the taxi, saying they are still in the initial stages of the
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) joined police and
IDF troops in the search for the assailants.
The Shin Bet had initially
declined to comment on whether it considered the incident a “price tag” attack,
the name given to attacks by Jewish extremists against Palestinians in order to
protest government policies. The Shin Bet also placed a gag order on details of
The Tag Meir group, a coalition of Israeli organizations that
opposes Jewish violence against Palestinians, condemned the attack in a
statement released by the organization’s chairman Dr. Gadi Gvaryahu, saying “We
must not allow such price-tag attacks to become commonplace.”
added: “The security apparatus must do everything in its power to arrest those
responsible for attacking an innocent Palestinian family.”
and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.