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Palestinian throws acid at Jewish family, then shot and arrested by police

A Palestinian posing as a hitchhiker threw acid at an Israeli family in the West Bank Friday, before he was shot by a passer-by and arrested, the Israeli military said.

 

The Israeli family -- a Jewish man, his wife and three young girls -- were sitting inside a car when the Palestinian hurled acid at the woman and the girls at a checkpoint south of Jerusalem, the military said.

The army said the Palestinian also tried to attack the father of the family with a screwdriver and then started to run away, but a civilian passer-by shot him in the leg. Israeli police arrested him and evacuated him to hospital for treatment.

 

The Israeli man had stopped to pick up the Palestinian as a hitchhiker when the attack occurred, authorities said. An Israeli civilian hit the attacker with his car and then shot him, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Friday. The suspect is in moderate condition, according to emergency services.

 

The Israeli family members sustained light injuries, the police said.

 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The incident occurred as tens of thousands marched in the Gaza Strip in celebration of the 27th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist Hamas group.

 

About 600 Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in Hebron Friday. Israel Defense Forces soldiers were using crowd-dispersal methods to break up the demonstrations.

 

Friday’s attacker was identified as Jamal Abd al-Majid Ghayatha, 45, Haaretz reported, citing Ma'an News Agency. Ghayatha was imprisoned in Israel from 2004-2007 for activities related to Islamic Jihad, army sources said.  Israeli army forces raided his home in Nahalin.

 

Tension has been mounting between Israelis and Palestinians, especially in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in recent months since a five-week war between Israel and Hamas ended in August. More than 2,100 Palestinians-- most of them civilians-- died in the conflict, Palestinian officials said. More than 70 Israelis died in the fighting, most of them soldiers. 

 

In the past month, 11 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly in Jerusalem, but also in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. Ten Israelis and a foreign visitor were killed by Palestinians in knife or car-based attacks in the last four months, Reuters reported.  At least a dozen Palestinians have also been killed in the violence.

 

Magen David Adom paramedics treated the Israeli victims of Friday's acid attack, who included a 27-year-old man, another man in his 50s, a 52-year-old woman and three girls, aged 11, 12 and 18. The victims in the car reported feeling a burning sensation on their skin and in their eyes as well as shortness of breath.

 

Acid attacks are rare in Israel and the Palestinian territories. In 2001, a Palestinian girl seriously injured a young Israeli woman when she entered a Jerusalem shoe shop and threw acid at a saleswoman.

 

Earlier Friday, a Palestinian rammed his car into a bus stop where Israeli soldiers were waiting in the West Bank. The troops were not hurt, the military said. The driver was lightly hurt and taken in for questioning to determine whether it was an accident or an intentional assault.

 

Palestinians have used vehicles as weapons to carry out attacks in several instances in recent months, resulting in deaths and injuries.

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