Hamam Mesalmeh, who drove a van with Palestinian license plates that slammed into 3 IDF soldiers on guard duty, turned himself in after family members, including his father, were arrested.
The lead suspect thought responsible for ramming a car into three soldiers in Gush Etzion on Wednesday turned himself in to security forces on Thursday afternoon, after his father and other family members were arrested, Israel Radio reported.
Hamam Mesalmeh was arrested and detained for questioning at the Etzion District Coordinating Office.
He claimed responsibility for the attack in which three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were moderately to seriously wounded when a car slammed into them while they were guarding the area on Route 60 close to the Al-Aroub refugee camp in Gush Etzion.
Only hours earlier in Jerusalem, an Arab terrorist intentionally ran his vehicle into a crowd of people near the Shimon Hatzadik light rail station early Wednesday afternoon, killing one person and wounding at least 13 others.
Security camera footage of the Route 60 attack shows a white van with Palestinian license plates driving off the road and running over the soldiers. The driver then fled the scene in the car.
Roadblocks were set up and security forces combed the area in an effort to locate the terrorist. The vehicle was found not far from the scene of the crime, but the driver was not inside.
Security forces searched for the suspect overnight, arresting about 15 people suspected of involvement in the attack. According to Palestinian media reports, they raided Mesalmeh’s Beit Awa home and arrested several of his family members, including his father, before he turned himself in.
Magen David Adom emergency services paramedic Eyal Zahavi, who treated the soldiers at the scene of the attack, said, “When we got there, we saw three young, injured boys, about 20 years old, lying in the ditch beside the road. They were fully conscious. We gave them preliminary medical treatment in the field and then evacuated them to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.”
Gush Etzion Regional Council head David Pearl responded to the incident, saying, “This vehicular terrorist attack proves, without a doubt, that we are currently in the midst of a third intifada, which [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas is orchestrating by inciting and encouraging terrorist attacks.”
Efrat Regional Council head Oded Ravivi said, “Violent incidents and terrorism have never led to any accomplishments in the past, and they will not lead to any accomplishments now.”
Hamas praised the attack, with spokesman Fazi Barhoum calling it a “brave, heroic and blessed step.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=21267