Palestinian shot after throwing acid at settler family

12:00 Dec 12 2014 near tunnel checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, near Betar Ilit settlement

Palestinian shot after throwing acid at settler family
The scene of the acid attack on Route 60, December 12, 2014. Photo by United Hatzalah

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- A Palestinian threw acid at a family of Israelis picking up a hitchhiker in the West Bank Friday before being shot and wounded, residents and the army said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a vehicle carrying a family of five picked up a hitchhiker near the tunnel checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

"A vehicle carrying a family with four girls stopped to pick up a hitchhiker" near a checkpoint outside Bethlehem and close to the Gush Etzion settlement area, an army statement said.

A Palestinian man standing next to the hitchhiker threw acid at both him and the family when the car stopped, it said.

Initially the army said the attacker was a hitchhiker but later revised its statement.

Israeli news site Ynet said three young children aged 8-10 suffered light burn wounds and a 40-year-old man suffered burns to his face and eyes.

Another Israeli civilian shot the suspect in the leg as he fled, the Israeli spokeswoman added.

The suspect was identified as Jamal Abd al-Majid Ghayatha, 45, from the village of Nahalin.

Palestinian residents said he was mentally unstable and had received treatment at a mental health clinic in Bethlehem. He had been arrested before, they added.

He was taken to Hadassa hospital for treatment.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.

Victims suffer light wounds, emergency services say; suspected assailant was shot and is in moderate condition.

By Gili Cohen , Nir Hasson and Chaim Levinson for Haaretz

A Palestinian man poured acid on a family of Israelis in the West Bank on Friday in a suspected terrorist attack. There were conflicting reports about whether five or six Israelis were wounded.

The victims are said to be lightly wounded.

An Israeli civilian struck the attacker with his car and then shot him. He is in moderate condition, according to Magen David Adom emergency services.

Ma'an News Agency identified the attacker as Jamal Abd al-Majid Ghayatha, 45, from the village of Nahalin. Army sources said he was imprisoned in Israel from 2004-2007 for activities related to Islamic Jihad. Israeli army forces raided his home in Nahalin.

The attack occurred on Route 60 between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, near the Betar Ilit settlement.

Magen David Adom paramedics treated the Israeli victims, 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 older man was taken to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, while the rest were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

The victims reported feeling a burning sensation on their skin and in their eyes as well as shortness of breath.

According to an Israel Defense Forces officer, the attacker also tried to stab one of the men with a screwdriver following the acid attack.

A spokesman for the Border Police said soldiers saw a man holding a screwdriver and chasing someone, and by the time they caught up to the attacker, the Israeli civilian had shot him. The attacker is being treated at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.

Elsewhere in the West Bank on Friday, a Palestinian driver crashed into concrete barriers at a hitchhiking post near the Samaria Regional Brigade's army base. No Israeli soldiers were hurt in the incident, while the driver was lightly injured.

An initial report from the army said that a Palestinian driver sped toward two soldiers at a bus stop near the army base, south of Nablus. Security forces continue to investigate the incident, and the driver is being interrogated.

Meanwhile, some 600 Palestinians were clashing with Israeli forces in Hebron. Israel Defense Forces soldiers were using crowd-dispersal methods to break up the demonstrations.

Over the past month, 11 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly in Jerusalem, though there have been other attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank.
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