Residents of Yitzhar in central Samaria say they prevented a terrorist attack when they used force to halt a truck that ignored numerous orders to halt, and careened around several checkpoints at high speed. Their account was disputed by the IDF, which claimed that the residents attacked an innocent driver who had lost his way.
The incident occurred Saturday night, when a truck with Arabic writing on it drove through a checkpoint into Yitzhar. According to the soldiers, the truck driver had lost his way and passed the checkpoint unintentionally. He then drove on the access road to Yitzhar and attempted to pass into the town itself.
Residents said that the driver refused to stop and ignored the calls of a guard at the gate to halt. At that point residents, fearing that the truck was part of a terror attack, blocked the truck's path and slashed its tires, while the guard alerted the IDF of a possible terror attack.
Soldiers arrived in short order and took the driver and a passenger into custody. The driver was injured in the incident was transferred to a Petach Tikvah hospital for treatment. Security experts examined the truck for bombs and weapons, and when it was found to be clean it was removed from the town limits.
Yitzhar officials stressed that they, and the army, were treating the incident as a security breach. “Especially during these days, with many serious incidents occurring in Samaria, a truck with Arabic writing on it that breaks through a checkpoint rightly raises many suspicions,” one official said.
The IDF claimed that the driver, an Israeli Arab, had been injured by rocks thrown by residents, but the official denied this, saying that no rocks had been thrown at the driver, and that his injuries were incurred when he stopped short after residents blocked the road, apparently throwing him into the windshield and injuring him. The IDF announced it would open an investigation into the incident.
In November, a resident of Otniel, Rabbi Dan Marzbach, was shot and killed accidentally by an IDF soldier when the rabbi did not slow down at a checkpoint because he thought he had been recognized. The soldier was reinstated without a hearing.