IDF enforces closure on West Bank hometown of car-rammer
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Victim: Terrorist executed attack 'with a smile on his face'

IDF enforces closure on West Bank hometown of car-rammer

After terrorist wounds 2 Israelis, one seriously, in vehicular attack near Efrat, army sets up checkpoints around village of Halhul

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Israeli soldiers operate a checkpoint at the entrance to the village of Halhul, the hometown of a terrorist who rammed his car into two Israelis earlier in the day, on November 17, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli soldiers operate a checkpoint at the entrance to the village of Halhul, the hometown of a terrorist who rammed his car into two Israelis earlier in the day, on November 17, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli army on Friday set up checkpoints around the West Bank town of Halhul, the home of a Palestinian terrorist who earlier in the day rammed his car into two people, seriously injuring one of them, the military said.

The family of the terrorist was also detained for questioning, the army said.

Just after 6:30 a.m., the 17-year-old barreled his car into the first victim, a 70-year-old man, who sustained a light head wound, at the Efrat South Junction.

From his hospital bed, David Ramati recalls getting hit by a car in a terrorist attack outside the West Bank settlement of Efrat on November 17, 2017. (Screen capture: Shaare Zedek Medical Center)

From his hospital bed, the first victim, David Ramati, described seeing the Palestinian terrorist, “with a big smile on his face,” driving toward him at some 100 kilometers (60 miles) an hour. Ramati said he had a pistol and tried to shoot the 17-year-old driver, but he was hit by the car before he could.

The terrorist continued down the road to the nearby Gush Etzion Junction where he hit and seriously injured another Israeli man, 35, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

The army said at that point the driver then got out of his car with a knife and tried to stab soldiers who were standing nearby.

“The soldiers responded by firing towards the attacker, resulting in his injury,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

Israeli soldiers stand guard at the Gush Etzion Junction after a terrorist rammed his car into two Israelis there earlier in the day, on November 17, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Following the attack, the military decided to set up a so-called “breathing closure” on Halhul, meaning soldiers allow some cars to travel in and out, once they undergo an inspection.

“Following a situational assessment that was held in the Etzion Brigade, IDF troops are enforcing breathing closure on Halhul village, from which the terrorist came, in order to prevent additional assailants from leaving the village,” the army said.

Israeli soldiers operate a checkpoint at the entrance to the village of Halhul, the hometown of a terrorist who rammed his car into two Israelis earlier in the day, on November 17, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

The head of the army’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Roni Numa, and the head of the West Bank Division, Brig. Gen. Eran Niv, visited the scene of the car-ramming and attempted stabbing.

They “commended the soldiers’ swift reaction that led to the attacker’s neutralization and prevented further injuries to civilians and soldiers,” the army said in a statement.

According to the hospital, the terrorist was in critical condition.

Ramati was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, while the 35-year-old was taken to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, the MDA said.

The seriously injured victim was taken for surgery with a head wound, surgeon’s at the hospital said.

“He suffered a head wound. He has an intracranial hemorrhage and will require brain surgery,” his doctor said. “He’s in serious condition, but he is stable.”

Army medics treated the wounded terrorist and also brought him to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem for further treatment.

The Gush Etzion Junction in the central West Bank has been a common site for terror attacks due to its close proximity to both Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages.

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