Shin Bet Arrests Palestinian Assailant Behind West Bank Car-ramming Attack

Four Israeli soldiers wounded in Thursday's attack near Beit Aryeh. Palestinian suspect says media coverage of Jerusalem, Temple Mount tensions influenced attack.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Security forces gather at the site of the car-ramming attack at Beit Arye in the West Bank on December 10, 2015.
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian suspect allegedly behind Thursday's West Bank car-ramming attack that wounded four soldiers. The suspect, a 37-year-old Palestinian named Mahmoud Abed al-Halim abed al-Hamid Salam, confessed to the crimes.

According to the Shin Bet security service, Salam is from the village of Al-Luban, near the site of the attack in Beit Aryeh. He was placed in administrative detention for six months in 2001 and identifies with Hamas, although he is not an official member.

He was arrested in a joint operation by the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Police and Shin Bet. In recent years, he was not involved in anti-Israel activities. During initial questioning, however, he admitted that he carried out the attack after being influenced by media coverage of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and what he called "the murder of Palestinian children." He was subsequently transferred to the Shin Bet.

One soldier was critically wounded in the attack and another three were moderately and lightly wounded. They were evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

Israeli forces imposed a partial closure on Al-Luban following the attack and checkpoints have been deployed at the entrances to the village.

The soldiers wounded in the attack are members of a Home Front battalion that is part of the reinforcements to the West Bank due to the violence in recent weeks.