4 Palestinians charged with throwing firebombs, rocks at Israeli motorists
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4 Palestinians charged with throwing firebombs, rocks at Israeli motorists

Group from Hizme detained over so-called ‘popular attacks’ as spate of rock throwing incidents continues in and near Jerusalem

The windshield of a car hit by a rock near Jerusalem on September 21, 2015. (Courtesy)
The windshield of a car hit by a rock near Jerusalem on September 21, 2015. (Courtesy)

Four Palestinians from a West Bank village north of Jerusalem were charged with carrying out a series of attacks against Israeli motorists, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.

The Shin Bet said the four, from the village of Hizme, were part of a “popular terror” group involved in various rock-throwing and firebombing attacks.

Israelis were wounded in at least three of the attacks: the April 7 firebombing of a bus near Hizme; the June 21 firebombing of a bus on Road 437 near the village; and the July 26 attack against a bus driving from Hizme to Anatot. Drivers were wounded in all three attacks.

The four suspects in the cell, aged 28, 22, 22 and 21, were arraigned in the Judea Military Court. Some of the suspects confessed to their involvement in the attacks, the Shin Bet said.

The arrests took place over the last several weeks, the Shin Bet said, without providing details.

The attacks, which involve grassroots actions not directed from above by larger terror groups, have been termed “popular terror” by Israeli officials.

The announcement highlights Israeli efforts to crack down on Palestinian protesters using stones and Molotov cocktails against Israeli drivers and security forces, amid a spate of attacks in and around Jerusalem over the past week.

Tensions have soared in recent days following clashes between police and Muslim protesters on the Temple Mount last week.

On Monday, an Israeli woman was treated for shock after a rock throwing attack on a road in the West Bank south of Jerusalem.

The attack came a day after a similar attack on the same road targeted an Israeli mother and 6-month old baby, who both escaped unharmed. Other stone throwing attacks were also recorded north of the capital Sunday night.

On Monday, a group of 10- to 11-year-old boys were caught by Border Police troops after pelting a bus near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate with stones. Police held the boys until their parents arrived to collect them.

The Shin Bet also said Monday that it had arrested a 30-year-old resident of Anabta, near Tulkarm, who confessed to the July 7 pelting of an Israeli car on Road 557.

The man, Mahmoud Ibrahim Mar’i, was arrested by IDF troops on July 12. The soldiers found a large stone in his car, which Mar’i admitted he was planning to use in a future attack.

He had participated in similar rock-throwing attack as a teenager in the late 1990s, the Shin Bet said.

He was indicted by the IDF military prosecution last month.

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