Wednesday, March 15, 2017

15-Mar-17: A vehicle ramming attack in Gush Etzion is thwarted... by bollards

After the attack vehicle came to a halt [Image Source]
Time to give thanks for the basic, low-tech security devices that save Israeli lives.

Around 3:45 this afternoon (Wednesday) south of Jerusalem at busy Gush Etzion Junction, a young Arab woman - really a girl - of 16 from Beit Fajjar was behind the wheel of a late model Ford Mondeo sedan with white Palestinian Authority license plates which swerved violently across the traffic divider from the opposite side of the highway and smashed at high speed into a group of civilians and soldiers standing at a public bus stop.

Fortunately for everyone concerned, this was one of the many Israeli stops where metal posts - bollards - had been installed to protect travelers waiting for a bus and to prevent what today's evident attacker had in mind. Her vehicle crashed into the posts, and the injuries to the Israelis watching in horror were limited to shock and abrasions.

The bus stops at Gush Etzion - a cluster of Israeli communities located roughly half way between the capital Jerusalem and Hebron - have been frequent targets during the past two years of (inaccurately named) lone-wolf terror attacks, many of them drive-by shootings and vehicle rammings directed at Israeli pedestrians and commuters. That's why there is a heavy military and security presence there round the clock.

In the words of a Ynet report:
The girl, from Beit Fajjar, rammed her car into a bus stop at the Gush Etzion junction, where several people were waiting, raising the soldiers' suspicions... IDF troops shot and seriously wounded [the driver] who attempted to carry out a terror attack... [Ynet, March 15, 2017]
The driver/assailant was taken to hospital by ambulance in critical condition. Early reports said she died of her injuries - whether from bullets or high-speed impact is unclear. Other Israeli reports from later in the afternoon said she was in fact alive and recovering.

Arabic-language news media name her as Fatima Jibrin Taqatqa. Beit Fajjar is located south of Bethlehem and adjacent to Gush Etzion. The head of its local municipal authority is also a Taqatqa. A quick Google scan shows numerous Taqatqas from Beit Fajjar who have been involved in violent Arab-on-Israeli activities. Here on this blog. we reported on another Taqatqa woman from Beit Fajjar who carried out a stabbing ["02-Dec-14: Yesterday's knifing attack at Gush Etzion Junction: prologue and epilogue"] and on a 19 year-old Taqatqa male who carried out a stabbing a year ago [here].

The version of events published by Ma'an News Agency follows the propaganda outlet's customary template. Headlined "Palestinian girl shot, injured at Gush Etzion junction after alleged vehicular attack", it includes the same video clip as the one embedded above, but describes the events a little differently:
Security camera footage of the events showed a car seemingly losing control at the junction, going over a median strip, and hitting posts near a bus station... Palestinian Red Crescent spokeswoman told Ma'an that the organization was unable to ascertain the health condition of the Palestinian woman, as she was taken away by Israeli ambulance services before Red Crescent ambulances reached the scene. Israeli news outlet Ynet had initially reported that the woman was killed, however the report later indicated that the woman survived the shooting, but was in a critical condition... [Ma'an]
Sixteen is below the age for holding a drivers license in Israel. A Wikipedia source says the minimum age for holding a drivers license in the Palestinian Authority is 18. Clearly this driver was not licensed to be wielding this afternoon's weapon.

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