Four Israelis were wounded in a terror attack at a bus stop near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel Sunday night, one of them seriously, after an Israeli police officer was lightly wounded in a botched car bombing attack in the morning. Meanwhile, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in southern Israel’s Eshkol region late last night, the IDF said. No injuries or damages were reported.
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In the Sunday morning attack, a Palestinian drove up to the Al-Zayim checkpoint near the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and blew up a gas canister in her car after a policeman ordered her to pull over. The policeman, 45, was lightly wounded, while the terrorist was hospitalized in very serious condition.
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The attack near Gan Shmuel, north of Hadera, occurred at about 7:30 P.M. at the Alon junction on Route 65. The assailant, Ala Raed Zyud, 22, from the nearby city Umm al-Fahm, first rammed his car into a crowd at a bus stop and then got out and began stabbing people.
A 19-year-old female soldier was seriously wounded and a 14-year-old girl was moderately wounded. The other two victims, a 19-year-old male soldier and a 45-year-old man, were lightly wounded. The four victims were taken to Hillel Yaffeh Medical Center in Hadera.
After that, he fled, but got only as far as the entrance to Gan Shmuel before being caught.
The terrorist in the Al-Zayim attack was identified as Asra Jabas, 31, of the East Jerusalem neighborhood A-Tur. She had no previous record of involvement in terror.
Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Moshe Chen, a traffic policeman, was driving toward the checkpoint in his patrol car when he noticed Jabas’ car tailgating him in the bus lane. Since this is illegal, Chen told her to pull over. As he was talking with her, she blew up the gas canister, shouted “Allah Akbar” and tried unsuccessfully to escape the burning car.
The Shin Bet security service said that she was later found to be carrying handwritten notes expressing support for “martyrs” – the Palestinian term for people killed committing terror attacks.
Chen said he initially stopped her only because she was breaking the traffic laws. “I told her, ‘You’re committing a traffic violation.’ And then she said, ‘Allah Akbar.’ Smoke emerged, and I thought something was burning. I ran to get a fire extinguisher, and then there was an explosion and I realized she was a terrorist ... Until that moment, I didn’t consider her suspicious.”
“Fortunately, I was wearing a flak jacket,” he added.
After the explosion, Chen said, he urged the other people present “not to shoot the woman, who was lying there wounded,” and summoned reinforcements. “I could feel that I was wounded – my face was badly burned. But I understood that many people had been saved. I prevented a major disaster.”
Also Sunday, the police sent emergency call-up orders to 13 additional companies of Border Police reservists, raising the total number of reserve companies mobilized to deal with the ongoing wave of terror attacks to 16. Some of these companies will be sent to Jerusalem and the rest to other cities.
Police are also looking into creating a system of reservists for the regular police, which would require amending the reserve duty law. Under this proposal, former policemen would become reservists upon retiring from the force and could be called up during emergencies.
At a briefing for reporters Sunday, acting Police Commissioner Bentzi Sau detailed the steps police are taking to try to suppress the wave of terror. Inter alia, he said, police recently started issuing administrative detention orders against people suspected of stone-throwing on the Temple Mount and are planning to raze the houses of three terrorists. In addition, a special task force has been set up to prevent stone-throwing and firebombs along Route 6, a major north-south artery.
Finally, he said, police plan to begin operating in East Jerusalem neighborhoods on the West Bank side of the separation fence – Ras Khamis, Kafr Akab and the Shoafat refugee camp – which they have hitherto largely shunned.