An Israeli security force said Thursday that an initial investigation into what was believed to be a vehicular terror attack Wednesday night in Gush Etzion was actually a hit and run.
Hamam Masalmeh, 23, the driver of a large commercial vehicle that rammed into three IDF soldiers standing near a pillbox by al-Arroub in the West Bank, turned himself in to Israeli custody. Both he and another suspected arrested earlier were questioned.
Speaking to AFP, Masalmeh's uncle Omar said this was an accident, and that his nephew lost control of his car.
The Shin Bet said Engineering troops from Battalion 603 arrested another suspect, believed to have aided Masalmeh. Overnight, several Palestinians were arrested near al-Arroub refugee camp outside Hebron, several of those relatives of the suspected attacker.
According to a report from the Palestinian Safa news agency, security forces detained the suspect's father after the forces raided his house in the Palestinian town of Beit Awwa in the southern West Bank. Other relatives of the suspect were also arrested.
According to the report, IDF troops informed the Masalmeh family that they were looking for their son, Hamam Jamal Badui al-Masalmeh, who is suspected of driving the vehicle and running over three soldiers. Among those arrested are Palestinians Jamal Badui Masalmeh, Valid al-Masalma and Ismail Sabhi al-Shalash Masalmeh.
In Wednesday's attack, the second vehicular attack that day, a Palestinian driving a large commercial vehicle rammed into three IDF soldiers standing near a pillbox by al-Arroub in the West Bank. One suffered moderate-to-severe injuries and the other two were moderately wounded. The three, who were taken to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem, underwent operations overnight.
The vehicle used for the attack was later found abandoned in al-Arroub with damage to its hood. However, security forces have yet to locate the driver.
The wounded soldiers were from a battalion deployed to Gush Etzion. The troops were securing Highway 60 that is adjacent to the al-Arroub refugee camp, where stones and Molotov cocktails are thrown at Israeli vehicles every day.