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Shin Bet arrests terrorist who rammed four soldiers Thursday

Mehmed Salem, 37, says he carried out attack over Temple Mount, ‘murder of Palestinian children’; 1 soldier released home from hospital

The Shin Bet security service arrested early Friday the suspected perpetrator of a late-Thursday car-ramming attack that left four IDF soldiers hospitalized.

Mehmed Abed al-Halim Abed al-Hamid Salem, 37, was arrested in a joint operation of the Shin Bet, the IDF undercover Duvdevan forces and police units.

Salem allegedly slammed his black Isuzu into the four soldiers near the settlement of Beit Aryeh, just over the Green Line from several Tel Aviv suburbs in an area that has seen little of the violence that has rocked the country over the last several months.

The car was found abandoned in the nearby village of Rantis. Authorities found an Israel Defense Forces-issued weapon inside the car, the army said.

The condition of the four soldiers improved overnight. One was released home Friday morning. Of the three who remain in hospital, two are moderately wounded and one lightly wounded.

Salem was identified by the Shin Bet as a 37-year-old resident of the West Bank village of al-Lubban al-Gharbi. He is affiliated with Hamas, and served six months in an Israeli jail in 2001.

The scene of a car-ramming attack near the Beit Aryeh settlement in the West Bank on December 10, 2015 (Magen David Adom)
The scene of a car-ramming attack near the Beit Aryeh settlement in the West Bank on December 10, 2015 (Magen David Adom)

In his initial interrogation, Salem confessed to carrying out the attack in response to reports about Israel’s purported plans for the Temple Mount and what he characterized as “the murder of Palestinian children,” the Shin Bet said.

The Thursday ramming follows a week of terror attacks. On Wednesday, two Israelis were shot in their car outside the West Bank settlement of Avnei Hefetz: A man was seriously wounded and his wife sustained light injuries.

Earlier, Wednesday, two Israelis were stabbed in the West Bank city of Hebron, sustaining moderate and light injuries respectively. One of the injured was a soldier; the other, a civilian, was identified as the son of ex-Jewish Home MK Orit Strock.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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