Two Arabs Killed in Carjacking Attempt

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- An Israeli truck driver shot at three Palestinian Arabs who attempted to kidnap him and hijack his vehicle Sunday, killing two and injuring the third.

The Arabs summoned the driver to Mount Hebron allegedly to tow a tractor for them, but that was not their intention, Army Radio reported. When he arrived, they attacked him with metal rods and attempted to steal the truck and kidnap him.

The injured driver drove to the nearest IDF checkpoint, where he reported the incident.

Attempted carjacking by Palestinian Arabs, including commercial vehicles, have increased recently. MK Avi Dichter, former head of the Shin Bet, told Army Radio they should be considered terror attacks.

"Carjacking could easily lead to kidnapping of people. We must use our intelligence apparatus to pinpoint these car thieves and bring them to justice," Dichter said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement saying "these settlers commit crimes under the auspices of the Israeli government and the IDF," though the 52-year-old driver is a resident of Ashkelon, not Judea or Samaria.

Later the P.A.'s WAFA news agency praised the two would-be kidnappers as "martyrs," IMRA reported. 

"Speakers denounced the crimes of the settlers under the continued support and protection of the Israeli occupation army, demanding the international community to intervene to end the occupation and [put] an end to crimes against our people and land and property," the report read.

"They stressed the importance of national unity and closing ranks and activating the popular resistance against the occupation and the settlers to leave our land and establish an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem," it concluded.

In a separate incident Sunday, two Arabs posing as Jewish hitchhikers on Route 443 near the Beit Horon junction attacked the Israeli who gave them a lift, threw him out the car and drove off. Beit Horon is a Jewish community in Samaria.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Abbas blamed Israel for the stalled peace process, calling it "clinically dead." Senior negotiator Saeb Erekat, who recently recovered from a heart attack, is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later this week.

Erekat said he would restate the Palestinian Authority's demands for restarting talks with Israel, which include releasing Arab prisoners,  freezing all construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and accepting the pre-1967 borders for the Palestinian state.

"These are not preconditions but obligations and Israel must abide by them. We hope the American administration compels the Israeli government to fulfill its obligations in order to get the peace process back on track," Erekat told AFP on Sunday.

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