Female assailant shot during suspected car-ramming attempt

No Israelis seriously injured as Palestinian teenager drives into bus stop at West Bank’s Etzion Junction

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

A Palestinian teenager allegedly attempted to ram her car into a bus stop at the Etzion Junction in the central West Bank on Wednesday, prompting Israeli security forces to shoot and wound her, the army said.

No Israelis were seriously injured in the incident, though a 28-year-old Israeli woman in “advanced stages of pregnancy” was taken to the hospital after experiencing a panic attack, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

The 16-year-old Palestinian driver was critically injured from the crash and IDF gunfire, according to Arab media.

She received medical treatment from the Israel Defense Forces and was taken to the hospital, MDA said.

She was identified by Arabic media as Fatemah Taqatqa from Beit Fajjar, a Palestinian town south of Bethlehem.

The incident occurred shortly before 4:00 p.m.

Surveillance footage from the scene, first posted on social media and later released by the IDF, showed the car veer across multiple lands of traffic and crash into the metal bollards surrounding the bus stop.

According to the military, the teenager specifically targeted the troops stationed at the junction, but both soldiers and civilians could be seen standing at the bus stop.

Israeli troops surround a car that was driven into a bus stop in an apparent terror attack in the Etzion Junction in the West Bank on March 15, 2017. (Magen David Adom)
Israeli troops surround a car that was driven into a bus stop in an apparent terror attack in the Etzion Junction in the West Bank on March 15, 2017. (Magen David Adom)

Local Bethlehem media reported that the driver’s cousin, Amjad Taqatqa, was arrested shortly after the attack. The IDF could not immediately confirm the report.

The Etzion Junction’s bus stop and hitchhiking post has been the scene of a number of terror attacks in late 2015 and early 2016, including both car-rammings and shootings.

The busy junction sits at a major crossroads in the Etzion settlement bloc between Jerusalem and Hebron.

The vehicular attacks forced the government to install metal poles around the junction’s bus stop in order to prevent attacks, which have waned over the past year.

Though a marked drop has been recorded by security officials in recent months, 40 Israelis, two Americans, a Palestinian and an Eritrean national have been killed in the spate of stabbing, car-ramming and shooting attacks that began a year and a half ago.

According to AFP figures, some 250 Palestinians, a Jordanian and a Sudanese migrant have also been killed, most of them in the course of carrying out attacks, Israel says, and many of the others in clashes with troops in the West Bank and at the Gaza border, as well as in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks.

The spate of Palestinian attacks that began in October 2015 was dubbed the “lone wolf” intifada, as many of the attacks were carried out by individuals who were not connected to any terror group.

The attacks were at first attributed to tensions over Palestinian fears that Israel was seeking to change the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a charge Israel has repeatedly and vehemently denied. Palestinian leaders have argued that the primary cause for attacks during this period was despair caused by Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank.

The Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip, continues to refer to each attack as a part of a “Jerusalem Intifada.”

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