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Police: Palestinian nabbed with stolen truck, planned ramming attack on soldiers

After chase through Rishon Lezion, cops arrest Ramallah resident who allegedly admitted to plan to kill troops

Truck allegedly stolen by a Palestinian man who intended to use it for a ramming attack, October 20, 2017. (Israeli Police)
Truck allegedly stolen by a Palestinian man who intended to use it for a ramming attack, October 20, 2017. (Israeli Police)

Police on Thursday chased down and arrested a Palestinian man driving a stolen truck who had allegedly planned to use the vehicle to carry out a ramming attack on Israeli soldiers.

Officers were alerted that the vehicle was stolen from the coastal city of Holon, and located the truck in Beit Dagan, adjacent to Rishon Lezion, near Tel Aviv, according to a police statement on Friday morning.

Cops called on the driver —  a 39-year-old resident of the West Bank city of Ramallah — to stop but were ignored. That set off a car chase during which the truck smashed into a police car and another vehicle.

The truck driver was eventually arrested on Moshe Dayan Boulevard in Rishon Lezion, police said.

The Palestinian man admitted during questioning that he had stolen the truck in order to carry out a vehicular ramming attack against Israeli soldiers, according to the police statement.

The suspect, who was not identified, was being brought to the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Friday. The investigation was ongoing.

The scene of a truck-ramming attack in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of East Jerusalem on January 8, 2016. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Cars, trucks and vans have been used in many terror attacks on Israelis, including a January attack that saw an East Jerusalem man drive his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers, back up and run over them again, killing four and injuring dozens.

In April, a Palestinian driver slammed into soldiers at a bus stop near the Ofra settlement, killing Sgt. Elhai Teharlev who was guarding the spot.

Vehicles have also been the weapon of choice in multiple terror attacks in Europe over the last year.

The most deadly attack was carried out by the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked truck to drive into a Christmas market in Berlin.

In March, a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death. Four men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge and rampaged with knives nearby, killing eight, in June.

A man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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