West Bank man indicted for attempted truck-ramming attack
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West Bank man indicted for attempted truck-ramming attack

Mohammed Safran of Ramallah stole vehicle, led police on high-speed chase in failed plan to kill IDF soldiers

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

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)

Central District prosecutors on Monday filed an indictment against a West Bank resident who allegedly stole a truck in Israel with the intention of carrying out a ramming attack against Israeli soldiers. His plan was foiled when police chased the truck through traffic until it was eventually brought to a halt.

Mohammed Safran, 40, from Ramallah, was formally accused of preparing to commit murder and a terror act, endangering lives on a public thoroughfare, stealing a vehicle, illegally entering Israel, driving without a license, and other offenses, the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

According to the indictment, Safran entered Israel with the intention of carrying out a ramming attack to kill IDF soldiers for Palestinian nationalist motives. The plan, prosecutors said, was to attack the soldiers as they waited outside a base in the central region.

On October 19, Safran crossed into Israel and traveled to the city of Holon, bringing a monkey wrench with him, according to the indictment. He found a truck, broke in and stole it. The truck owner saw the theft and tried to intervene, but Safran drove toward him, nearly running him down. He then set off in the direction of the base. The truck owner, listed as a plaintiff in the case, contacted police, who gave chase.

During the course of a high-speed chase along a highway, Safran weaved through traffic and rammed the chasing squad car when called upon to stop. The truck ran a red light, and further down the road hit several vehicles before finally coming to a halt. Safran was eventually arrested on Moshe Dayan Boulevard in Rishon Lezion.

Prosecutors asked that he be held until the end of proceedings.

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

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

Vehicles have also been the weapon of choice in multiple terror attacks in Europe over the past year, as well as in a recent deadly ramming in New York City.

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