Man seriously wounded in car explosion in north; terror motive suspected

Shin Bet involved in investigation of blast at Megiddo Junction; father says victim, Shareef ad-Din, 21, was on way home from work

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

The scene of an apparent bombing at Megiddo Junction in northern Israel, March 13, 2023. (Courtesy: Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
The scene of an apparent bombing at Megiddo Junction in northern Israel, March 13, 2023. (Courtesy: Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A man from the northern Arab village of Salem was seriously wounded after an explosion occurred near his car at a junction in northern Israel, which authorities suspected could be a possible terror incident.

According to police and medics, the explosion occurred at around 6 a.m. on the Route 65 highway at the Megiddo Junction, close to the prison of the same name.

The 21-year-old, later named as Shareef ad-Din, was taken by the Magen David Adom ambulance service to the Emek Medical Center in Afula for treatment, before being transferred to Haifa’s Rambam Hospital. He was listed in serious condition, suffering from shrapnel to his entire body, including his head, medical officials said.

Police said officers were at the scene investigating the circumstances of the blast, which initially remained unclear. The highway was closed off in both directions in the area, and remained shut until around 3:30 p.m.

The explosive device was thought to have been planted on the side of the road. Footage from the scene showed the vehicle, a road maintenance pickup truck, damaged by shrapnel.

The Shin Bet security agency was involved in the investigation, indicating that authorities suspected the explosion could have been terror-related.

A spokesperson for the Shin Bet did not provide further details about the suspicions and investigation.

Recent months have seen a number of bombing attacks by Palestinians.

In November, an East Jerusalem Palestinian with Islamic State ties set off two bombs at two entrances to Jerusalem, killing two and wounding more than 20 others.

On Friday morning, a Palestinian tried to break into a settlement farm in the West Bank with several improvised explosive devices, before being shot dead. And on Friday night, a Palestinian suspect was detained for allegedly planting a bomb on a bus in a West Bank settlement a night earlier.

Car bombings, however, are also a hallmark of criminal gangs in Israel, in both the Jewish and Arab communities.

Arab communities in Israel have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly, but not exclusively, by organized crime. Arab Israelis say police have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and for years largely ignored the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars, and attacks on women.

The victim in Monday’s explosion did not appear to have any relation to criminal activity.

Speaking to the Ynet news site, ad-Din’s father, Taha ad-Din, said his son was on his way home from a night shift at work when the blast occurred.

“My son was on his way home, he works at night and studies during the day. He is studying to be a civil engineer and works on roads in the Tel Aviv area,” Taha ad-Din said.

Most Popular
read more: