Israel: who bombed Israa Jaabis at the Maale Adumim checkpoint?
Israel: a round-up of news on trouble in Israel in the papers. Every death tops the news cycle. The Western media feasts of the names of the dead and injured. We don’t get to know the names of all the dead when bombs kill scores of civilians in Turkey. But every death in Israel is the story of an individual. Today we look at reporting on Israa Jaabis and the ‘car bomb’.
The Times: “Woman bomber strikes in new wave of violence”
Why is a woman bomber different to being a simple bomber?
A car bombing by a Palestinian woman and a deadly Israeli airstrike in Gaza brought a serious escalation to weeks of unrest in the Holy Land.
The Holy Land? Where are they in the FIFA rankings?
Police stopped Israa Jaabis, 31, the would-be bomber, as she drove on a highway between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. She shouted “Allah Akbar” (God is the greatest) before detonating her bomb.
One police officer was slightly injured. Jaabis suffered burns to 40 per cent of her body and was taken to a Jerusalem hospital. Shin Bet, the internal security agency, said Jaabis had tried to ignite a gas cylinder and was carrying leaflets in support of Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
A bomber with leaflets? A novel way of delivering them? We learn that she is 31-year-old and a resident of east Jerusalem.
Palestinians disputed the official account, saying that an electrical fire in the car was mistaken for an explosion.
The LA Times:
…an Israeli police officer suffered light burns when a Palestinian woman allegedly detonated a bomb at a checkpoint near Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem. Officials said the policeman had flagged down a suspicious car for inspection when the driver detonated a bomb.
Sappers checking the vehicle for further explosives found a gas canister, and police officials speculated that the car was intended to explode in Jerusalem. The driver, later identified as a 31-year-old resident of east Jerusalem, was seriously injured in the blast and taken to a Jerusalem hospital. Palestinian media disputed the Israeli version, saying the woman was alarmed by an electric short in the car.
Early on Sunday, Israeli police believe they foiled an attack after stopping a woman driver near another West Bank settlement, Maale Adumim. As she walked toward police officers, there was an explosion in the vehicle.
Meanwhile, on a West Bank road leading to Jerusalem, police pulled over a car driven by a Palestinian woman who they said shouted ‘God is great’, and detonated an explosive when approached by officers.
Both the woman and the officer were injured in the explosion.
‘We foiled a car bomb attack,’ said police commander Rafi Cohen. ‘We have no doubt the woman terrorist who drove the vehicle intended to reach Jerusalem.’ Cohen added that there were more explosives still inside the vehicle. Although he gave no more detaisl, Army Radio reported that gas canisters were found inside.
The wave of violence also saw an Israeli police officer wounded on Sunday in a car explosion at an Israeli checkpoint when a Palestinian woman allegedly detonated explosives in her car near the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli police said officers noticed a “suspicious vehicle” being driven toward Jerusalem in a public transport-only lane approaching a checkpoint.
The injured police officer, Moshe Chen, said he gestured for her to stop the car and she then yelled “Allahu Akbar”, a phrase in Arabic meaning “God is great” and sometimes used by Islamic protesters, and detonated a bomb in her car.
The Huff Post has little more on the alleged bomber:
The security agency says handwritten letters were found on her person that praised Palestinian “martyrs.” It says the woman is a resident of east Jerusalem but lives part of the time in the West Bank.
The Jerusalem Post: “Police officer injured in attack near Ma’aleh Adumim: I told bystanders not to shoot terrorist”
We hear from Moshe Chen, the police officer at the centre of the story.
“You always hear of terrorist attacks and suddenly I was in one, boom, that’s how it is,” the lightly wounded police offer told reporters as he lay in a hospital bed in Sha’are Tzedek Medical Center.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said the woman attempted to ignite a gas tank in her car with flammable materials and then tried to exit the vehicle. Other than the gas tank, there was no explosive device in her vehicle.
Why was the woman suspicious?
Chen said he first noted her vehicle as he drove toward the A-Zaim junction outside the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement and thought it seemed suspicious. A woman sat in the driver’s seat, but there were no other passengers in the car, even though she was driving in the commuter lane, which is designated for buses or groups of three or more people, he said.
Chen said he continued to drive but her car moved closer and closer to his vehicle, as if to catch up with it, in a way that made him nervous.
“I felt that something was wrong,” Chen said.
He stopped. He approached her car. He says:
“As luck would have it, I was wearing a flak jacket. I told her that she had violated a traffic regulation, but she seemed not to understand what was happening. She spoke in Arabic and then she said, ‘Allahu Akbar’ and I saw that some smoke was coming out of the car,” Chen said.
Initially, he said he thought something had possibly caught fire in the car and contemplated getting a fire extinguisher to put it out, when there was an explosion.
“It was then that I understood she was a terrorist. People tried to offer help. I asked them to stay away because there was a terrorist. Some of them had weapons and I told them not to shoot at the woman. She was wounded and did not pose a danger. I called for more police and security forces to come to the scene.”
Chen’s call for backup is played:
“I am on the road in the direction of the A-Zaim junction from the Adumim junction. A woman drove alone in the public transportation lane. I saw her acting suspiciously, she yelled ‘Allahu akbar’ [‘God is great’]. It seems as if she has set off a device. I am lightly wounded, the terrorist is on the ground, the car is burnt, it was going to burn, someone there put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. I don’t know if I am lightly wounded, I am in shock, I have suffered some burns. The device went off, she detonated the device.”
The terrorist was seriously injured in the attack and was evacuated to hospital in Jerusalem with burns to her entire body, Magen David Adom said. The police officer suffered burns to his upper body and was evacuated to hospital with light injuries and in stable condition.
In the hospital, Chen told reporters,“I could have died, but I am here, healthy and whole. I am very emotional… I lived through the first intifada and the second intifada and now this one. I hope it ends soon.”
We also hear the Palestinian version of events:
Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority security forces, however, accused the Israel Police of “fabricating” the story about the car. He said an official investigation conducted by the PA showed that the woman’s car had been intercepted by an Israeli police vehicle.
“When the woman stopped the car, the airbag in front of the driver’s seat suddenly went off,” Damiri claimed. “The policeman saw this as an excuse to open fire at the woman when she tried to get out of the car. That’s why the Israel Police fabricated the story, which is a lie and misleading.”
A 20 year old woman was critically injured, and an IOF police officer was lightly injured following an explosion in a car near the settlement of Maale Adumin, in the occupied West Bank at 7.15 am this morning (Sunday).
IOF? She’s 20?
The incident was initially reported as an attempted suicide bombing but Micky Rosenfeld, the Israeli Police’s official spokesman, said the explosion had happened after the woman had left the car.
No. He didn’t.
The Israeli Occupation officer is not thought to be lightly hurt.
Conflicting accounts of the incident have emerged, with pro-Jewish websites claiming it was an attempted suicide bombing and others claiming the woman threw an explosive device.
Pro-Jewish? Or pro-Israeli? We’ve not seen any report that the device was tossed.