|Armed security man, evidently from Betar Illit, an Orthodox community|
near Gush Etzion, at the scene of Friday's vicious acid attack
[Image Source: Ronen Zvulun, Reuters]
Five members of an Israeli family have suffered chemical burns after a substance believed to be acid was thrown over them reportedly by a Palestinian man in the West Bank. Police said the victims included four girls who were sprayed with a corrosive substance by a man who was then shot in the leg by a bystander. The incident took place close to a checkpoint near Beitar Illit, in the southern West Bank. Paramedics who treated the family – including three children aged between about eight and 10 – said the wounds appeared to be acid burns affecting their limbs. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said the family had stopped to pick up the man, who was hitchhiking. He got into their car and began throwing liquid on the family before attempting to attack the father with a small screwdriver. As he fled the scene he reportedly attempted to attack other people with the screwdriver while being chased by an armed civilian before he was shot. Police said the attacker had “poured an unknown substance suspected to be acid on a Jewish family”. Media reports later identified the man as a Palestinian from the village of Nahalin, near Bethlehem.Times of Israel ["Palestinian attacks family of 6, including young children, with acid"] adds that Friday's attack occurred near a checkpoint between Beitar Illit in the Gush Etzion area, where the family lives, and the Palestinian village of Husan, southwest of Jerusalem.
It says the attacker evidently posed as a hitchhiking Israeli and when the family stopped their vehicle at Al-Hader Junction to pick up a legitimate hitchhiker, Moshe Claude Kamon, an ultra-Orthodox driver, who had just gotten off a bus and was looking for a way to his home in Beitar Illit, they came under acid attack.
It quotes the Palestinian Arab Ma’an news agency which identifies the attacker as Jamal Abd al-Majid Ghayatha, 45, from Nahalin, and says he is "a former Palestinian prisoner" of Israel. It also quotes an IDF source saying that the attacker was “known to have been previously involved in illegal and hostile riots and activities.” An armed civilian who was driving by shot the attacker twice "in the lower extremities", seriously injuring him.
The driver of the car, a father in his 50s, suffered burns to his eyes and was rushed Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem for emergency treatment. His wife and her three daughters aged 8 to 10, as well as a niece, were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment.
And the man who flung the acid on them? He is in Hadassah as well, being treated by its world-class doctors for the injuries he suffered when being stopped by by-standers from doing more harm to innocents than he managed to inflict. In most other terror wars, the shots directed at an attacker in circumstances like these would very likely have been on a shoot-to-kill basis, but that is done rarely in Israel's ongoing war where a serious commitment to ethical practices influences the military as well as civil defence practices.