Palestinians wounded in West Bank vehicle fire, in possible fire bomb attack
Incident takes place near settlement of Bat Ayin; police also investigating the possibility that the Palestinian mini-bus taxi overturned, caught fire for other reasons.
Six Palestinians, all members of the same family, were wounded on Thursday after a taxi caught fire while driving by the al-Arub refugee camp near the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin.
One was wounded seriously with another five suffering from moderate wounds, in what the Palestinians said was the result of a settler hurling a firebomb at the vehicle.
A short while after the incident was reported, six fire bombs were hurled at cars driving on a central West Bank road near Tapuach junction. No casualties were reported.
Following initial reports of the incident, IDF and Magen David Adom emergency crews arrived at the scene, and evacuated the wounded to Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.
According to a police statement, initial sweeps located a second fire bomb that was apparently prepped to be hurled as well.
However, despite the Palestinians' claims the police said it was also investigating other causes for the fire, including the possibility that the taxi capsized as a result of the fire bomb's hurling, without being actually hit by the projectile, or that it overturned for different reasons.
It is unlikely that the purported attack represented a case of mistaken identity since the vehicle in question was painted yellow, typical of Palestinian taxis, and since it bore a Palestinian license plate.
According to the Palestinian news agency Ma'an, among those wounded were members of the same family: father Aiman Hassan, 37; wife Jamila Abdel Hay, 25; children Aiman and Muhammad, 4; and driver Hassan Hassan, 27.
The report stated that the father, wife, and driver suffered second- and third-degree burns, while the children suffered first-degree burns.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the suspected attack, with a statement saying that the premier instructed the Shin Bet to locate and apprehend the perpetrators.
"This is a very grave act. We will do everything it takes to catch those responsible and bring them to justice," Netanyahu said.