IDF chief holds situational assessment at scene of deadly West Bank car-ramming
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IDF chief holds situational assessment at scene of deadly West Bank car-ramming

Two dead soldiers still not named; hospital says no improvement in status of two injured soldiers, with doctors fighting to save life of one of them

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

The March 17, 2018 photo shows IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot (second from L) visitsing the scene of a car ramming attack in the northern West Bank that killed two soldiers and injured two others along with COGAT head Yoav Mordechai (second from R). (Credit: Israel Defense Forces)
The March 17, 2018 photo shows IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot (second from L) visitsing the scene of a car ramming attack in the northern West Bank that killed two soldiers and injured two others along with COGAT head Yoav Mordechai (second from R). (Credit: Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot held a situational assessment Saturday morning with senior military officials at the scene of a car-ramming attack in the northern West Bank that left two soldiers dead and injured two others.

Hours after the Friday afternoon attack, security forces raided the village of Barta’a near Jenin where the 26-year-old attacker Ala Qabha was from, arresting his brother and uncle along with several other Palestinians suspected of involvement in the car-ramming.

Forces also mapped out Qabha’s home in preparation for its demolition, conducted a broader search of the village for illegal weapons and continued security checks of cars in the roads surrounding Barta’a.

On Friday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai announced that he had revoked the work permits of some 30 relatives of Qabha following the attack.

A spokesman for the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva said Saturday morning that there had been no improvement in the status of the pair of injured soldiers, whose conditions remained serious and moderate.

Both of the soldiers underwent multiple surgeries overnight for injuries sustained after Qabha plowed his car into the troops, who were standing at a military guard post outside the Mevo Dotan settlement.

The Beilinson spokesman said that doctors were still working to save the life of the soldier in serious condition as his status worsened.

The IDF has yet to release the names of the two soldiers killed in the attack. One of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene. A second died a short time later, after attempts to save his life failed. The army designated the car-ramming as a terror attack.

Qabha was stopped by IDF troops less than a hundred feet from the scene. The 26-year-old was then interrogated and transferred to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera for treatment of his minor injuries. He remains in Israeli custody.

Hebrew media reported Friday that Qabha had been released from Israeli prison last April after completing a 17-month sentence for security related activities.

Car-ramming terror suspect Ala Qabha (Courtesy)

Meanwhile Qabha’s family claimed the incident was an accident and not an attack, with one relative telling the Haaretz daily that the young man was a painter, and had been on his way home from Jenin after buying supplies. “He’s not politically affiliated and doesn’t belong to any organization,” he said.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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