East Jerusalem Woman Charged With Lighting Gas Canister at Roadblock

A traffic officer was lightly burned after the object inside the woman's car exploded.

A car near Ma'aleh Adumim after a woman allegedly set off a gas canister in a terror attack, November 12, 2015.
Israel Police

A 31-year-old Palestinian woman was indicted Thursday for attempted murder for allegedly igniting a gas canister in her car at a security roadblock.

The event happened near the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, lightly burning a policeman.

The police say that over the past year the woman, Israa Khabas, has expressed sympathy on Facebook for so-called shahids — Muslim martyrs.  Khabas, who is married with a son, lives in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkaber.

Against the backdrop of the knifings, car-rammings and other small-scale terror attacks by Palestinians in recent weeks, Khabas decided to attack Jews and become a martyr herself, the police say.

According to the indictment filed at the Jerusalem District Court, Khabas took a gas canister from her husband’s home in Jericho and put it in the backseat of her car. She then drove on Route 1 toward Jerusalem but was stopped about a kilometer from a checkpoint into the city.

Police say she was stopped by traffic officer Moshe Hen, who stopped her to ask why she was in a lane reserved for public transportation. At that point she allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” and ignited the canister.

According to the indictment, the explosion blew Hen toward a guardrail on the highway, burning his face and chest. He said he had noticed a woman in a car backing up toward him.

“I felt that something wasn’t right. Fortunately I got out with a flak jacket,” he said, adding that he warned her not to break the traffic laws, at which point she yelled “Allahu Akbar.”

“Smoke came out, and I thought something was burning,” Hen said. “I wanted to get a fire extinguisher, and then there was an explosion and I realized she was a terrorist.”