Despite repeated warnings, West Bank traffic choke point turns into death trap

Deadly terrorist attack near Maale Adumim occurred at location long warned by locals to be potential death trap, where congested traffic leaves motorists vulnerable to terrorists armed with machine guns

Over the years, locals have frequently warned about a bottleneck on Highway 1 near the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, where traffic congestion is common, but their warnings went unheeded. On Thursday morning, the nightmarish scenario everyone had warned about became reality when three terrorists opened fire at Israeli cars stuck in traffic there.
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The attack took place on one of the main thoroughfares leading to Jerusalem, notorious for morning traffic jams and used by both Israelis and Palestinians. Locals have dubbed this traffic choke point a "death trap" due to its vulnerability as opening fire on vehicles there would leave motorists with nowhere to run from a potential attack.
2 View gallery
זירת הפיגוע סמוך למעלה אדומים
זירת הפיגוע סמוך למעלה אדומים
Security forces on-site after the attack
(Photo: Liran Tamari)
Last year, brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were gunned down by a terrorist while stuck in a traffic jam in the Palestinian town of Huwara.
Local leaders have sounded the alarm about the access route in Huwara and other problematic areas, including the site of Thursday's attack. They also flagged a similar issue at the Meitar crossing in the Hebron Hills, where several robberies and terrorist acts have taken place.
One eyewitness of the attack near Maale Adumim said she "had nowhere to run" when the terrorists opened fire. "If I had left one minute earlier, I would’ve been smack in the middle of the attack," she said.
"Someone exited his car and began shooting all over. This is unreal. Security forces rushed to the scene in great numbers. IDF, police, helicopters. We’re talking about three lanes in the road that saw condensed traffic jams, leaving the terrorists free to shoot wherever they wanted.”
2 View gallery
זירת הפיגוע סמוך למעלה אדומים
זירת הפיגוע סמוך למעלה אדומים
Security forces on-site after the attack
(Photo: Israel Police)
Maale Adumim Deputy Mayor Guy Ifrah said “this is an emergency. Driving alongside Palestinians on Highway 1 is a ticking time bomb. The Israeli government must come up with an immediate solution and stop with this dual-national driving lane. I demand a new road to be constructed posthaste. It’s time that both the government and the Supreme Court put human lives at the top of their priorities and stop citing puzzling claims of freedom of movement as an excuse to endanger both our lives and the lives of our children.
"On behalf of the city's residents, as well as myself, I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the family of the victim. All of us pray the wounded make a speedy recovery.”
Binyamin Regional Council Chairman Yisrael Gantz sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in December warning about the traffic bottleneck being a significant security vulnerability and highlighting the complexity of ensuring safety on a road used by Jews, Arab Israelis and Palestinians,
Efrat Regional Council head Oded Ravivi echoed that sentiment on Thursday and called on the defense establishment to provide safe passage for Jewish motorists en route to Jerusalem.
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