W. Bank cars damaged in suspected ‘price-tag’ attak

Unidentified assailants try to torch two cars in Awarta southeast of Nablus, run away before succeeding.

Car damaged in price tag attack 370 (photo credit: Ilene Prusher)
Car damaged in price tag attack 370
(photo credit: Ilene Prusher)
Unidentified assailants tried to torch two cars in Awarta southeast of Nablus late Tuesday night, but ran away before they were able to.
The spokesman for the Judea and Samaria police district, Ch.- Insp. Dudi Asraf, said police have opened an investigation, which has been hampered because they were only given security clearance to enter the village a few hours later.
Asraf said there hasn’t been an added deployment of police in the field following the string of suspected “price-tag” attacks since last Thursday, though he said that the damage caused in the recent incidents is more extensive than usual.
At 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Iyad Qawareq woke up to the sound of a closing car door outside his house in Awarta.
The 31-year-old told The Jerusalem Post that he saw “two settlers wearing kippot” pouring fuel on his family’s two cars parked outside their three-story house. He added the men had also sprayed graffiti on the gate of their storage garage before he could notice them.
Iyad’s mother, Umm Jamal, told the Post she was asleep when she heard her son shouting.
“He shouted, ‘Stop, you... stop.’ We looked from our window and saw the attackers escaping in their yellow [Israeli license] plated, white car speeding toward the direction of the neighboring Yitzhar settlement.”
The men ran away before they were able to ignite the car.
Iyad says two of the men sprayed the graffiti and poured the fuel while one stayed in the driver’s seat of the car, adding that none of them wore a mask.
Loui Qawareq, Iyad’s brother, said the family went down toward the cars and poured water on them to remove the fuel.
Shortly after, they called the Palestinian liaison office, said Iyad, which told them to contact the Israeli civil administration.
He recounted the story of the attempted arson while other family members stayed downstairs guarding their home.
Umm Jamal has six sons – five of whom are married – who live in the family’s Awarta home.
This was the first attack the family has witnessed even though their house is located at the eastern entrance of the village.
“We see people – whom we think are settlers – come up to the town singing or speeding with their cars to disturb us.”
The IDF phoned the family several times after the attack to check on the security condition and showed up at their home at 7:30 that morning.
Iyad added that the IDF, police and Israeli intelligence members took their testimonies, checked for fingerprints and collected evidence including two cans filled with fuel.
Loui, who works for a private security company, said the Israeli policemen refused to leave the scene before the family removed the Hebrew remarks sprayed on the home’s garage.
Most of the children remained asleep after the attack.
In the morning they wondered about the police presence.
“We told them that settlers came in and tried to burn our cars, but thanks to God who loves us, our cars are safe and we didn’t lose anything,” Umm Jamal said.
Loui bought black paint and erased the Hebrew graffiti without being able to understand it.
“We asked the Israeli policemen to translate for us but they said what was written was not important.” He described the writings, saying it had a drawing of what he thinks is a man and also two sentences beneath it that he couldn’t understand. “I don’t really know what they wrote but from the drawing I saw, I suspect it has to do with attacking our religion,” he added.
Loui told the Post he believes settlers were behind the attempted torching.
“We all saw them when we woke up, they wore kippot and had the braided hair on the sides of their heads,” he said.
He explained that the family will stay cautious and will stay up at night guarding the house.
Loui said the family gathered and discussed building a wall around their house following the attack.
“You never know, they might want to seek revenge after we didn’t allow them to burn our cars,” he said.
On Tuesday, assailants torched the gate of a house in the village of Fara’ata, west of Nablus. Palestinians believe settlers from the neighboring outpost of Havat Gilad were behind the attempted arson.
The family was able to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading.