Daily Israel Report

Soldier Describes Firebomb Attack on School Bus

IDF photographer gives firsthand account of Molotov Cocktail attacks against Israeli schoolchildren; latest in string of attacks.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 11/19/2013, 4:23 PM

בקבוק תבערה
בקבוק תבערה
Flash 90

An IDF photographer was the target of a Molotov Cocktail attack this week, according to the IDF's official blog - and so was a bus full of schoolchildren. 

The photographer, Shoval, recounts, "I was traveling on a road in Samaria (the Shomron). A bus full of children returning from school came down the opposite lane. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw a firebomb fly directly at the bus. I blinked and saw in my mind one of those horrifying images of an exploded bus you see in the newspaper, only this time it was right there in front of me." 

"When I opened my eyes, I breathed a sigh of relief," he continued. "I didn’t know if it was luck or something else, but the firebomb missed the bus, flying right over it."

But the danger was far from over. "One split second later, that sigh of calm turned into one of the most fearful moments of my life. The bomb was now heading towards me! I can’t explain how that felt in words – those few milliseconds felt like an eternity."  

Shoval, thankfully, escaped. "I managed to step on the accelerator of my vehicle and the bomb landed in a bush a few meters away from me."

He then ran for help. "I sped up and drove to a military position at a nearby crossing, and alerted the soldiers to what had happened. They quickly returned with their commanding officer to the scene of the crime to catch the terrorist. We heard on the radio that another IDF force had already arrived there."

Molotov cocktail attacks have escalated over the past several weeks. Earlier this month, MK Orit Struk was on a civilian bus from Jerusalem to Hevron when terrorists threw 5 firebombs at the bus; no one was hurt.  Just last week, the Khoury couple from the Gush Etzion region suffered burns after a firebomb attack set their car alight; the couple narrowly escaped with their lives.

On Sunday, Palestinian Arab terrorists attempted to burn down the vigil site at the Gush Etzion T-junction erected by local residents in protest of that attack.

While the reports are many, Shoval gives the problem a human face. "The saddest part of this attack is that this truly non-trivial event has become a dangerous routine," Shoval stated. 

He concluded, "Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria suffer from attacks like this daily, attacks which the media deem insignificant. After living through this experience today, I feel the importance of being there, as a soldier, even more strongly."