An Israel Defense Forces officer was seriously wounded and a Border Policeman lightly hurt after three Palestinians drove a car into a group of Israeli troops, running them over on a road outside a village near the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, said the military on Monday.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said the attack prompted the troops to open fire on the vehicle, killing two Palestinians inside. The military added that a third Palestinian inside the car was wounded and taken into custody. The Palestinian health ministry later identified the two killed as Amir Daraj and Yusuf Anqawi, both 20 years old and residents of villages near Ramallah.
Several Molotov cocktails were also found in the vehicle, which the military believes the Palestinians had hurled at a security checkpoint near Route 443 prior to the attack.
According to a preliminary investigation, the troops had stopped their vehicle at the roadside at night to help another group of IDF soldiers whose car had broken down, and were deliberately struck by the Palestinians.
The wounded troops were taken to the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. Dr. Yoram Klein, the head of the hospital’s trauma center, said the condition of the officer is “serious but stable.”
"After an initial evaluation and stabilization, the officer had undergone surgery. His life is not in danger and I hope he will recover without complications … he’s suffering from wounds to his limbs and head,” he said.
The Hamas terror organization welcomed the attack, saying in a statement that: "The death of the two martyrs near Ramallah proves that the Palestinian people are continuing their fight against the occupier until our land is liberated."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the incident that he has already ordered the demolition of the attackers' homes. "This morning IDF soldiers acted quickly and eliminated the terrorists who threatened to run them over," said the prime minister. "We send our best wishes for a quick recovery to the officer who was wounded and will do everything to speed up the demolition of the homes of these murderers."
Palestinians, many of them individuals without known associations with militant groups, carried out a wave of car-rammings in the West Bank in late 2015 and 2016, but the frequency of such incidents has since decreased.
Associated Press contributed to this report