IDF says it foiled car-ramming attack on West Bank highway

Troops open fire on alleged Palestinian assailant speeding toward soldiers manning a checkpoint north of Jerusalem

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

The damaged windshield of the car belonging to a Palestinian man the IDF said attempted to ram into soldiers at a checkpoint on Route 443 on January 31, 2016. (Screen capture: YouTube)
The damaged windshield of the car belonging to a Palestinian man the IDF said attempted to ram into soldiers at a checkpoint on Route 443 on January 31, 2016. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Israeli soldiers thwarted an attempted car-ramming attack on Route 443 in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, the army said Sunday afternoon.

A Palestinian man attempted to run over soldiers manning the Maccabim checkpoint along the major east-west highway, which dips through portions of the West Bank. Troops opened fire on the speeding car, thwarting a potential attack, the IDF said in a statement.

The alleged Palestinian attacker sustained a number of gunshot wounds and was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital for medical treatment.

Sunday’s attack — the latest in a months-long wave of deadly Palestinian car-rammings, stabbings and shootings — came a day after an Israeli-American teenager was wounded in a stabbing in Jerusalem and four days after an Israeli man was seriously injured in a stabbing in a settlement north of the city.

Route 443, which connects the capital to Tel Aviv and traverses the West Bank for some 15 kilometers, has been the scene of several attacks in recent months, including a deadly stabbing in the settlement of Beit Horon a week ago, and a fatal attack on soldiers at a gas station along the highway in November.

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Earlier Sunday, three Israeli soldiers were injured when a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces opened fire at an IDF checkpoint near Beit El in the West Bank. The attacker, named by Palestinian reports as Amjad Sakari, 35, who was working as a bodyguard for the Ramallah district attorney, was shot dead by forces at the scene.

The shooter drove up to the Focus checkpoint in a car and exited it before opening fire with a handgun, injuring the troops. Magen David Adom emergency services said that two of the victims were in serious condition with wounds to the neck and thigh, respectively, and the other was lightly hurt. The victims were treated at the scene by army medics and were evacuated to hospitals in Jerusalem for treatment.

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