Two Israeli soldiers were killed and two others injured after a Palestinian drove his vehicle into them outside the Mevo Dotan settlement in the northern West Bank on Friday.
The IDF confirmed it was a terror attack, as the driver intentionally sped toward the troops who had been standing near a pillbox post located on Route 585 near the entrance to the West Bank settlement of Mevo Dotan, some 10 kilometers southwest of Jenin, where Palestinian protesters had been throwing rocks and molotov cocktails toward the road.
The two fatalities, an officer and a conscript, were killed instantly. The other two were evacuated by helicopter to Beilinson hospital in Petach Tikva in serious and moderate condition. The seriously injured soldier suffered severe head trauma and was still unstable with doctors fighting for his life.
The Shin Bet security service identified the terrorist as 26-year-old Alaa Kabha, a resident of Barta'a and a former security prisoner who had been released in April 2017. He was captured by Israeli security forces shortly after the attack and was lightly injured.
While the IDF did not impose a full closure on Kabha’s village, troops were stationed on roads leading in and out of the village to prevent copy-cat attacks. Overnight Friday, troops from the Menashe regional brigade entered Barta’a and mapped Kabha’s house for future demolition. Troops also searched for weapons and arrested a suspect, who, according to Palestinian media, was Kabha’s brother.
The Hamas terror group praised the attack, with spokesperson Hazam Kasam saying the “this attack makes it clear that the intifada is continuing for the Palestinian people.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot visited the scene of the attack, where he was briefed on the security assessment of the relatively quiet area of the Samaria district. He was joined by the new head of the IDF’s Central Command, Maj.-Gen.Nadav Padan; Coordinator of the Government in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen Yoav Mordechai; Commander of the Home Front Command, Maj.-Gen. Tamir Yadai; and Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig.-Gen. Eran Niv.
On Friday evening, COGAT Head Maj.-Gen. Mordechai ordered the immediate suspension of the permits of Kabha's family, revoking 67 permits to work in Israel as well as 26 trade permits and four permits to work in settlements.
Following the attack, Defense minister Avigdor Liberman called for the death sentence to be imposed on the terrorist.
"Before the coming of the Sabbath, we were informed of a serious terrorist attack, and we will act to sentence the terrorist to death, to demolish his house and to punish anyone who cooperated."
On Saturday, Israeli forces fired shells at and destroyed a Hamas outpost in response to an IED that exploded on the Gaza border fence earlier, the IDF spokesperson reported. The original explosion didn't cause any physical or material harm to the Israeli forces.
Palestinian sources reported that an IDF tank fired three shells at a target east of Gaza City on Saturday, and that one Palestinian was lightly injured. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza stated that no one was taken to the hospital as a result of the artillery fire.Hagay Hacohen and Tamar Ben-Ozer contributed to this report.