A Palestinian terrorist struck and wounded three soldiers as they walked with their unit on the side of Route 60, near the Shiloh junction in the West Bank around 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Two of the soldiers were seriously wounded, and were transported – one by helicopter and the other by ambulance – to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem. The third soldier, Lt. Daniel Albaz, was taken to Beilinson Medical Center in Petah Tikva where he described for reporters how the white four-door car plowed into them.
“I understood that it was a terror attack,” he said with his arm in a cast. Albaz explained that he was able to shoot the Palestinian driver, whose vehicle then flipped over. The driver, who was seriously wounded, was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
The soldiers were part of a unit that had been stationed in the area to deal with any issues that might arise in the aftermath of last week’s terror attack by Jewish extremists in the nearby village of Duma, in which a Palestinian toddler burned to death after his home was torched.
In the aftermath of the attack, an unidentified assailant, assumed to be Palestinian, threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli vehicle in northeast Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood Monday night, injuring two people.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon vowed to maintain zero tolerance for Palestinian terrorism, saying, “We activate the best of our people and capabilities to prevent attacks against Israel’s civilians.”
He added, however, that lone-wolf violence, as well as organized terrorist attacks, pose a challenge to security forces, “who in most cases succeed in thwarting attempts to harm Jews simply for being Jews.”
“Unfortunately, terrorists sometimes achieve their aim,” Ya’alon added. “I wish to send out my wishes for a quick recovery to the injured from this attack, and to praise the soldiers for their rapid response. IDF soldiers, Shin Bet personnel and Israel Police work day and night in the fight against Palestinian terrorism, and I wish to strengthen them in their efforts.”
Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the terrorist attack as a “heroic act” and called on their members in the West Bank to escalate the violence against Israelis.
Hamas spokesman Abad Arahim Shadid said: “We praise this heroic terror attack made against the Zionist.” He added that Hamas considered the attack “an appropriate response to the arrogance of the enemy and its crimes against prisoners, al-Aksa mosque and babies.
“We call upon the members of our people in the West Bank to carry out more terror attacks so that the occupiers will learn a lesson.”
A senior Islamic Jihad official also lauded the attack, saying that “this heroic terror attack needs to teach the occupier the price of their terrorism and aggression against babies and against the Palestinian people and its holy places.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week urged Palestinian not to carry out terrorist attacks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately commended the swift actions of the IDF who responded to the attack and wished the injured a speedy recover. For the second time this week, he called on the international community to condemn Palestinian violence against Jews.
“I find it strange that those who were quick to condemn terrorism against Palestinians are silent when the terrorism is directed at Jews,” the prime minister said.
The US condemned Monday’s Jerusalem attack, but the international community has not followed its lead.
The prime minister’s response incensed politicians on the Left.
MK Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union) said Netanyahu sounds like an Internet commenter, and MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, also of the Zionist Union, tweeted “to all those concerned, the run-over attack is terrible in my eyes.”
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal- On said Netanyahu is “a coward and an inciter. You were never a leader and you never will be, just... a role model for the preschoolers in your party.”
Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman praised the soldiers who arrived at the scene for responding correctly and shooting the terrorist, but used the incident to attack Netanyahu and Ya’alon for inaction in preventing such attacks.
“Responsibility for this falls on the prime minister and defense minister, who are not working in a determined way to fight terror and to stop it from happening,” he said. “Rather, they are doing the opposite.”
Zionist Union also lauded the security personnel at the scene of the attack.
“We applaud the IDF soldiers for acting appropriately and directly to stop the terrorist from hurting even more people and are convinced that the security forces will seek out whoever is behind this attack until they are caught, so that every terrorist will know that the State of Israel will not let terrorists slip out of its grasp. We wish those injured a quick recovery,” it said in a statement. “It is up to the prime minister to restore security for every person in Israel.
This is an extremely serious incident of criminal terrorism.”
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan said the most effective response would be to deport the terrorist’s family immediately.
“Only significant deterrence will prevent additional terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens,” he added.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel pointed out that “residents of Judea and Samaria deal with attacks and harassment every day that don’t reach the media,” and called on Ya’alon to increase security at major intersections.
“This attack, like previous ones, is a direct result of the Palestinians’ well-oiled incitement system,” he said. Ariel also said that while “us Jews” condemned the firebombing of Palestinian homes last weekend, he does not expect the PA to do the same following Thursday’s attack.
Culture Minister Miri Regev said: “the time has come for Abbas to stop being two-faced. I call on him to fight incitement and hatred that is deeply rooted in the PA; it must be uprooted.”
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said he “salutes IDF soldiers who acted quickly and determinedly and thwarted the terrorist... Anyone who harms or tries to harm Israeli citizens needs to know that our long hand will reach him.”
The Joint List did not respond to requests for comment.
Yasser Okbi and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.