Molotov cocktail throwers arrested in West Bank

Suspects aren't affiliated with a terrorist organization; confess to being behind attacks on vehicles on Route 60.

January 17, 2013 16:26
2 minute read.
Palestinian throwing a molotov cocktail [file].

Palestinian throwing a molotov cocktail 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)


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Security forces announced on Thursday the uncovering of a group of Palestinian men accused of being behind a series of Molotov cocktail attacks on Israeli vehicles.

The men, from the West Bank village of Sanjal, in the Ramallah area, allegedly firebombed a vehicle on November 19 as it traveled on Route 60, causing the car to burn down completely.

According to the indictment recently filed by the IDF in the Military Court of Judea, Haseen Sabana approached Yusuf Gafri on the day of the attack about throwing rocks at “the cars of Jews on the road” nearby.

Gafri countered with suggesting that they throw Molotov cocktails, far more destructive than rocks, said the indictment.

The two eventually called Hasan Aspor and Vasim Abu to join them in their attack plans, the indictment said.

The indictment alleged that the four traveled to a spot near Route 60 to prepare for the attack.

To enhance their chances at striking a target at close range, Hasan climbed up to a separate look-out point in order to spot incoming traffic and warn the rest of the cell when a “car of Jews was about to pass by.” Next, Haseen prepared the gasoline and all of the attackers prepared glass bottles in order to make the Molotov cocktails, said the indictment.

About 15 minutes after the cell arrived at their ambush spot, Hasan called Haseen by telephone from the look-out point and told them that a Jewish car was imminently passing by them, the indictment alleged.

According to the document, the other three cell members lit their Molotov cocktails and threw them at the incoming car.

The indictment said that two of the Molotov cocktails hit the road near the car, but one hit the back portion of the car, being driven by Margalit Bendheimer, along with passenger Daniel Mahon.

The Molotov cocktail that hit the car blew up the back window, the whole car started to burn and Mahon’s hat caught fire, said the document.

Bendheimer was able to drive the car a little bit past the area of the attack and then the two evacuated the vehicle, which eventually burst into flames, the indictment alleged.

According to the document, they fled the area and managed to escape injury, and the cell also fled the area.

The Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] said most of the suspects confessed to being behind that attack and several others, including rock throwing at Israeli buses and IDF vehicles traveling on Route 60.

One of the defendants, 29- year-old Sabana, was found to be in possession of two rifles, while a second, Gafri, 20, confessed to agreeing to take part in pipe bomb attacks.

The indictment listed charges for several other attacks, including previous molotov cocktail attacks dating back to 2008.

Neither man was affiliated with a terrorist organization, the investigation found.

Security sources said the village of Sanjal is a “center for violent disturbances,” adding that the area experienced a significant reduction in violence following the arrests.

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