A Palestinian woman set off an explosion in her car after being pulled over by Israeli police on a road to Jerusalem — injuring a policeman and herself — an Israeli police spokesman said Sunday.
Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said the woman tried to detonate a gas canister.
It is unclear if the use of an explosive device was meant to escalate daily Palestinian stabbing attacks on Jews which have been underway for more than a week but which thus far have not included setting off explosions in Israeli cities.
Notes found on the woman suggested she may have been on her way to carry out a suicide bombing, Israeli security officials said.
EXCLUSIVE PHOTO: Moment Arab terrorists detonated the Bomb near Jerusalem this morning, Luckily everyone was saved. pic.twitter.com/Z568R7QkBg
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) October 11, 2015
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that the woman shouted “Allahu akbar,” or “Allah is the greatest,” as she approached Israeli police officers who had pulled her car over near Maaleh Adumim, a West Bank Jerusalem suburb.
He said that the 31-year-old Palestinian was carrying handwritten notes supporting Islamic martyrs — those who die while carrying out jihadist attacks.
Female terrorist shouted "Allah Akbar" as she approached officers. Police officers examine vehicle after explosion. pic.twitter.com/coolCfewsv
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) October 11, 2015
“I stepped over to her car, thankfully wearing a Kevlar vest, and told her: ‘Lady, you committed a traffic felony,” Israel police Senior Staff Sgt. Maj. Moshe Chen told Israel’s Ynet from a Jerusalem hospital.
The traffic officer said he had thought she was driving suspiciously.
Israel’s Army Radio reported Sunday morning that she was driving in a dedicated public transportation lane and had tried to get close to a police vehicle.
“She didn’t seem to know what was going on, so I started speaking to her in Arabic, at which point she started shouting ‘Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar!’ and I noticed smoke coming out of the car,” he said. “I thought her car was on fire, so I ran to get an extinguisher, and then I heard a blast.”
“Then people started rushing to assist me,” he told the Israeli website. “I told them: ‘Hold your fire! The terrorist is lying down, injured, she doesn’t pose a risk anymore.'”
Maaleh Adumim’s chief of police, Rafi Cohen, said investigators believe she wanted to get to Jerusalem.
“Had she arrived at a crowded place, the damage would have been much, much greater,” Cohen said.
Palestinians from the West Bank and Jerusalem have launched daily stabbing and rock-throwing attacks over the past week, including two stabbings in Jerusalem on Saturday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday blamed the Palestinian leadership both in Ramallah and Gaza as well as the Islamic Movement in Israel for inciting to violence against Israelis.
“We are in the midst of a wave of terrorism originating from incitement regarding the Temple Mount by Hamas, the PA [Palestinian Authority] and the Islamic Movement,” Netanyahu told his cabinet ministers.
Though many of the stabbing attacks have appeared to be lone wolf operations, there has been a heavy dose of encouragement of violence in Palestinian social media, for example a video released by Hamas last week dramatizing the knifing to death of Israeli Jews. Others have posted cartoons glorifying the use of violence.