(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Palestinian man who recently hit three Israeli soldiers with his car in Gush Etzion reversed a previous statement that the incident was an accident, admitting to wanting to carry out a terrorist attack, according to information released for publication on Thursday.
Hamam Mesalmeh said he was inspired to ram a truck into three soldiers by an attack earlier on the same day, Nov. 5, in which terrorist Ibrahim al-Akri rammed his car into a crowd of pedestrians waiting at a light rail station in Jerusalem, killing two people.
Security camera footage from a nearby army fortification on the night of the Gush Etzion attack showed three Kfir Brigade soldiers patrolling on the side of the road, and then Mesalmeh’s vehicle coming in quickly, hitting them and fleeing the scene.
Police and military forces swarmed the scene immediately after the attack, setting up impromptu checkpoints and sweeping the area of the vehicle used in the attack. The three soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries, and one of them remains in serious condition in the hospital.
Mesalmeh had turned himself in the next day, claiming he hit the soldiers by accident. The camera footage and other evidence from the scene, however, pointed to an intentional attack. In his confession, Mesalmeh said the aim of the attack was to avenge Israel’s actions in Gaza during the summer’s Operation Protective Edge.