TEL AVIV (Oct. 14)
A Jewish criminal gang may have assisted the West Bank Palestinian who deliberately drove into a crowd of Israeli soldiers Friday, killing two of them and injuring 11.
Police are searching for the gang they believe stole the van used by the terrorist to plough into the crowd.
The suspect, Rateb Abdallah Zaidan, 25, of the West Bank village of Kibya, is in custody.
The fatally injured men were buried Sunday with full military honors. Regimental Sgt. Maj. Aharon Kalzoni-Agmon, 36, of Givatayim, was interred at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv.
Sgt. Shmuel Michaeli, 21, of Bnei Brak was buried in the military section of Holon cemetery.
Eight other soldiers remained hospitalized Monday, two in serious condition.
The incident occurred at a hitchhikers’ shelter on the Geha Road outside Tel Aviv, where soldiers wait to pick up rides. About 15 were standing in line when a van belonging to the Bezek Telecommunications Co. ran a red light and was driven into their midst at high speed.
The van demolished the shelter and over-turned. The slightly injured driver crawled out of a window and tried to escape. He was chased and overpowered by witnesses, who turned him over to a senior police officer who was driving by.
The suspect’s home in Kibya was sealed off by security forces Monday.
Zaidan reportedly left a suicide note under his mattress Friday saying he planned to “take revenge on the Jews for my relatives killed in the intifada and on the Temple Mount.”
According to police investigators, none of his relatives has been killed, either in the intifada or the Temple Mount riots on Oct. 8, 1990.
Police said the suspect’s wife tried to destroy the note when they came to question her.