Senior army sources said the hit-and-run incident in the Gush Etzion region Wednesday night which injured three IDF soldiers may have been an accident.Late Wednesday evening, a van driven by a Palestinian plowed into three IDF soldiers near al-Arub (south of Bethlehem), sending three soldiers to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem. The condition of one of the soldiers was still classified as serious Thursday evening, while another was in moderate condition and the third lightly injured.The van’s driver turned himself in to Israeli custody on Thursday, while a second man linked by the security forces to the incident was arrested. Both men are from the Hebron area.
“One of the directions being examined is that the suspects did not intend to strike the soldiers,” an army source said. “This direction is based on the possibility that the suspects may not fit the profile of terrorists,” even ones who could act on their own separate from an organization.“We are continuing to investigate all directions.”Earlier on Thursday, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said it was working with the IDF to “locate those involved” in the attack.“As part of these efforts, a Palestinian from the Hebron area was arrested for suspected involvement in the attack. A second man, also from Hebron [the driver], surrendered this morning to the security forces. The two men have been taken in for questioning by the Shin Bet.”The first suspect was arrested by the Combat Engineering Corps’ 603rd Battalion in Beit Awwa, in the South Mount Hebron region on Wednesday night soon after the incident. Whether or not the incident was nationalistically motivated, the IDF continues to view the West Bank as being cut off from Jerusalem, and sources believe it would be premature to conclude a new trend of terrorism is descending on the West Bank region. Additionally, the West Bank continues to see a decrease in the number of rock-throwing attacks, a source said.
West Bank vehicular terror attack