One dead and 17 injured in ramming attack in central Israel

Two Palestinians have been arrested in the affluent city of Ra'anana

Police initially described the attack as 'unusual'. AP
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An elderly woman died and 17 people were injured after a ramming and stabbing attack in the central Israeli city of Ra'anana on Monday, in what local police called “a very grave terror attack”.

Two of the injured are in a serious condition, nine in a moderate condition and six are lightly injured, according to Israel’s ambulance service. At least seven of the injured are children and teenagers.

The suspected attackers, Palestinian relatives from the Hebron area in the occupied West Bank, used cars to ram pedestrians in several areas of the city.

Deputy Commissioner Avi Bitton also said he did not rule out the possibility that other suspects were on the loose. Police would continue to deploy significant forces in the area, he added.

Israel’s internal security agency said that the suspects, Ahmed Zidat, 25, and Mahmoud Zidat, 44, were working in Israel illegally. Both were arrested and are being questioned.

The attack was initially described by police as “unusual” as authorities tried to piece together how such extensive damage was done using a number of vehicles.

The assault appears to have begun with one of the attackers stabbing a driver and stealing their car, which was then used to ram at least three people.

The initial vehicle became lodged, after which a second one was stolen, which was then used to ram more people.

The attack unfolded in the affluent city as schools were finishing for the day.

Police later said that the two attackers appeared to have been working in an industrial district. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that at least one of the men worked in a car wash.

The incident comes amid an uptick in Palestinian attacks at checkpoints in the Jerusalem area, as tensions spiral in the occupied West Bank amid severe Israeli restrictions on the movement of Palestinians, which Palestinians say are taking a huge toll on the local economy.

Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, are reported to have issued multiple warnings to the Israeli government in recent weeks that the situation in the West Bank is on the verge of eruption.

Daily raids take place in the territory, which often result in Palestinians being killed and arrested by Israeli forces.

Such operations are common in the West Bank, but are now spreading to areas outside usual flashpoint cities.

Updated: January 15, 2024, 6:17 PM