Palestinian rocks hit bus, likely cause crash

Stones thrown at several vehicles near Ariel settlement; toddler pulled from wreck not breathing, revived at scene.

Bus stoned 370 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Bus stoned 370
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Palestinians threw stones at a bus on Route 5 in the West Bank on Thursday and may have sent a car crashing into a truck, pinning it under the vehicle, along with the passengers – a mother and her three daughters.
A senior army source told The Jerusalem Post, “We will, through intelligence and operational steps, seek to capture the attackers.”
Among those lightly wounded on the bus by glass shattered by rocks was the wife of former Likud MK Yehiel Hazon.
But the Magen David Adom medics who raced to the scene near the Barkan settlement, not far from Ariel, around 6:25 p.m. focused on the mother, 32, and her daughters, aged two, four and six.
It took 25 minutes to pull the family out of the car, medic Muawia Kabha said.
The youngest girl was not breathing and was resuscitated with a mouth-to-mouth procedure, he said. Medics were able to revive her, but she was unconscious and in critical condition, he said.
The mother was also in moderate condition but was conscious, Kabha said. The two girls in the back seat were moderately wounded, because they were not in the part of the vehicle trapped under the truck, he said.
“It was an awful scene. It looked like a terrorist attack,” he added.
The mother, the toddler and the six-year-old were moved to Schneider Hospital after being taken to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, while the four-year-old was sent to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. As of press time, the toddler was in surgery.
Spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said police had received a number of calls about stone-throwing on the road at that time.
The Border Police said that as of 10 p.m. they, along with IDF soldiers, were still searching in the area, including inside Palestinian villages, but had arrested no suspects.
Also by 10 p.m., police had not determined for certain if rock-throwers had caused the wreck, but that this was likely, Rosenfeld said.
He added that police efforts were focused on two fronts – finding out who threw the rocks and arresting them, and determining beyond a shadow of a doubt whether the rocks caused the crash.
Hazon said he called on the government to eradicate the phenomenon of stone-throwing that had exacted a bloody price.
A resident of Ariel, Hazon said the city’s residents “won’t be cannon fodder for the quiet the prime minister wants in advance of [US President Barack] Obama’s visit,” Hazon said.
“I call on the government to act firmly and with determination,” he said. “In the past three weeks, this road has become a death trap. I suggest that that the government stop worrying about [cabinet] appointments and [Knesset] seats and start protecting Israeli citizens.”
Avi Ro’eh, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said that the stonethrowing attacks on Route 5 were acts of terrorism.
He said he had turned to the IDF and asked that it take the issue of stonethrowing more seriously, because “stones can kill.”
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that the incoming defense minister’s first challenge would be to restore security to the roads in Judea and Samaria.
Rosenfeld also said that police on Thursday night decided to reinforce patrols in the Old City of Jerusalem, in preparation for Friday prayers, after a general security assessment determined there was a strong possibility of disturbances.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch will be in the Old City to observe the police preparations, his people said.
The preparations included banning men between the ages of 18 and 55 from the Temple Mount complex, Rosenfeld said.
He added that the precautions had nothing to do with the event outside Ariel.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) released a report on Tuesday documenting a significant rise in Palestinian attacks in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in February.
A total of 139 attacks, including firebombings and the use of improvised explosives, took place in February, compared to 83 in January.
One hundred of February’s attacks took place in the West Bank – 84 of them firebombings – compared to 56 in the previous month.
In the capital, 38 attacks – 35 of them firebombings – were registered by the Shin Bet in February, compared to 27 in January.