Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking hours after two Israeli soldiers were injured in a predawn car-ramming in the West Bank, said Monday that he would see to it that the suspected Palestinian attackers’ homes were demolished as soon as legally possible.
The ramming occurred near the village of N’ima at approximately 3:30 a.m. The army said that “from an initial investigation it appears to have been an attack.” Soldiers opened fire on the three occupants of the vehicle, killing two and wounding the third.
An IDF officer was seriously injured and a border guard was lightly wounded in the attack, the military said.
“We will do everything to speed up the demolition of these murderers’ homes just like the murderer of Ori Ansbacher,” Netanyahu said, referring to a teenager who was raped and murdered last month just outside Jerusalem, allegedly by a West Bank Palestinian.
“I gave an instruction to speed up the demolition of these homes within the parameters of the legal system,” he said. “We are determined to continue our struggle against murderers and against terror as such.”
The home of Ansbacher’s confessed killer was mapped for demolition three days after she was killed on February 7. Israel uses home demolitions as a deterrent and a punitive measure against those who carry out attacks.
“IDF soldiers acted swiftly and killed the terrorists who threatened to run them over,” Netanyahu told media as he met the visiting prime minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi. “We send blessings for a speedy recovery to those injured.”
President Reuven Rivlin vowed that the country will neither accept nor be intimidated by terrorism.
“Our prayers for the recovery of the IDF soldiers injured in the terrorist attack this morning at the end of operations to ensure our security,” Rivlin tweeted. “We will not accept terrorism, nor will we be cowed by it. We will continue to fight it until it is defeated.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, using the biblical Hebrew name for the northern West Bank region where the ramming happened, tweeted, “Praying this morning together with the Israeli nation for the health of the IDF soldiers who were injured overnight in the Binyamin car-ramming. I salute the force that acted with courage and determination in order to overcome the despicable terror cell.”
Labor party leader Avi Gabbay also wished the soldiers a speedy recovery.
“Sending strength to the security forces in the daily struggle against terrorism,” he tweeted.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon also tweeted his wishes for a speedy recover for the two servicemen injured in the incident.
“The IDF, the police, and the Shin Bet (security service), will continue to stand guard in Judah and Samaria in defense of Israel’s citizens against murderers,” he wrote, using the Hebrew names for the West Bank regions.
“Terrorists rammed their vehicle into a number of soldiers who had stopped by the side of the road at the entrance to the village,” the Israel Defense Forces said in statement about the incident.
The soldiers had earlier conducted arrest raids in N’ima. Their vehicle broke down as they exited the area. The ramming occurred as the soldiers were standing outside the truck, trying to move it.
The Hamas terror group praised the attack, saying it showed “that the Palestinian nation will continue in its fight against the occupier until it earns its rights and frees its land.”
Israeli defense officials have warned that the coming months may see an escalation in violence in the already restive West Bank and Gaza Strip, in light of added pressure from the upcoming Israeli elections, US President Donald Trump’s plans to announce his proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, and ongoing struggles between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Authorities are seeking to prosecute Ansbacher’s killer, Irfaiya, for murder in the context of a terrorist act, in addition to a charge of rape.