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Israeli forces nab suspects in ramming attack last month

Military says two Palestinian men were arrested days after incident in which they dropped submachine gun, then hit soldier with their car at checkpoint in the northern West Bank

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

A car used in a failed shooting-ramming attack on Israeli troops on January 9, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)
A car used in a failed shooting-ramming attack on Israeli troops on January 9, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli security forces arrested two Palestinians suspected of carrying out a car-ramming attack in the northern West Bank last month, the military said Monday ahead of their indictment.

On January 9, the two men drove their car to a military checkpoint near the Palestinian village of Yabad armed with a loaded Carlo-style makeshift submachine gun. As they approached, the gun fell out of the car, so no shots were fired, but as they sped away, the driver rammed the vehicle into one of the soldiers at the checkpoint, lightly injuring him, according to the military.

A manhunt was launched to track down the two suspects, and a gag order was placed on the case, barring outlets from publishing further details about it.

That order was lifted Monday, as the Israel Defense Forces announced that the two suspects were arrested in a joint operation with the Shin Bet security service and Border Police days after the attack in the nearby Palestinian village of Qabatiya.

The car used in the attack was located within hours and confiscated, the IDF said.

The military also released helmet cam footage of the arrest, showing members of the elite counterterrorism Duvdevan unit raiding the village late at night and arresting one of the suspects in his bed.

“The cell was arrested a few days after the attempted attack thanks to intelligence from the Shin Bet,” the military said in a statement.

The pair was scheduled to be indicted in a military court later this month, the IDF said.

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