Israelis shot and seriously wounded a Palestinian teen during a rock-throwing incident by a mob of Palestinians targeting Israeli vehicles in the West Bank early on Wednesday, witnesses said.
The shooting took place near Beit Sahour, on the road between Jerusalem and the settlement of Tekoa, as Palestinians threw rocks at an Israeli woman’s car, smashed the windscreen and surrounded the vehicle.
The Israeli woman, Rivi Ohayon, who was driving to work in Jerusalem, said, “One of them opened the door. There was murder in their eyes. I thought they were going to lynch me.” Ohayon was hospitalized with light injuries.
“A group of Israeli citizens nearby saw the incident and fired at the attackers,” an IDF spokesman confirmed to The Times of Israel.
The 18-year-old Palestinian was in intensive care but in stable condition after the shooting, a Red Crescent medic told AFP.
The army said it was looking into the incident. According to a preliminary investigation, it said, the shots were fired at the Palestinian mob while it was attacking the woman.
Josh Hasten, a resident of the settlement of Elazar, told The Times of Israel earlier in the day that he had fired his weapon in the air after he was attacked on the road.
“As I slowed down, I saw a mob of 40 to 50 masked Palestinians on the side of the road. They were holding rocks and cinder blocks,” Hasten said. “As they approached my car, I took out my gun and fired one round in the air. The shot obviously scared them and they ran up the hill away from the road.”
He added, “I have no doubt that I would be dead now if I hadn’t used my gun. They were going to kill me.”
Hasten later said that he was giving testimony in connection with the shooting.
Ohayon said that stones were thrown at her car, smashing the windscreen and injuring her, and that a Palestinian mob opened the door of the vehicle when it came to a stop and that she was afraid they would try to pull her out. She was kicked multiple times, she said.
Ohayon, 38, was treated by Magen David Adom paramedics and then evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, MDA said.
In all, seven Israeli vehicles were damaged by rocks during the incident.
“I’ve been making this trip every day for six and a half years, sometimes twice a day,” Ohayon told Army Radio in an interview from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
“I drew close to the Border Police checkpoint, and about 50 meters before the checkpoint there were a bunch of guys in ski masks standing on the road, holding rocks in their hands,” she said.
“I turned back toward Tekoa. They lunged at the car — seven to 10 guys, I think — broke my front windshield and wounded me in the head,” Ohayon continued.
One of the men “opened my door and I was afraid he would try to pull me out [of the car], but instead he just kicked me again and again. I somehow managed to close my door and then I drove back to Tekoa as fast as I could,” she said.
The Tekoa-Jerusalem road has seen a spate of attacks against Israeli vehicles in recent weeks, amid escalating violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.