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2 Israeli soldiers killed in carramming terror attack

Issued: 2018-03-16

A Palestinian driver hit four Israeli soldiers with his car Friday afternoon, killing an officer and a soldier and seriously injuring the others, outside the Mevo Dotan settlement in the northern West Bank. One of the injured soldiers suffered severe head trauma and was fighting for his life.

The military confirmed that the incident was a terror attack. It said the troops were walking along the road on routine security activity when the driver intentionally ran them over.

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The driver was injured and taken to hospital, where he will be questioned, the army said. He was identified as Ala Qabha, 26, of the village of Barta’a in the northern West Bank.

Haaretz reported that Qabha was released from Israeli prison in April of last year after completing a 17-month sentence, though there were no immediate details on his crime. According to Hadashot news he was incarcerated for security-related activities.

Palestinian media reported that military forces searched the Qabha family’s home in Barta’a and questioned family members following the attack.

Hamas welcomed the attack, saying it “proves our people’s readiness to continue the Jerusalem intifada.” The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group also said it “commends” the attack and “calls for further attacks against the Zionist occupation. Palestinian groups had called for Friday to be a “day of rage,” in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

Qabha’s family claimed the incident was an accident and not an attack, with one relative telling Haaretz that the young man was a painter, and had been on his way home from Jenin after buying supplies. “He’s not politically affiliated and doesn’t belong to any organization,” he said.

The car-ramming occurred next to an army observation post along the 585 highway near the entrance to Mevo Dotan, approximately 10 kilometers southwest of Jenin.

Video from the scene showed Israeli and Palestinian medics treating the wounded. The area was also filled with IDF personnel, who inspected the wrecked car, which was tangled in barbed wire.

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