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Attacker hurls acid at Israelis

A Palestinian posing as a hitchhiker was arrested after being shot by a passerby.

JERUSALEM - A Palestinian attacker posing as a hitchhiker threw acid at an Israeli family in the West Bank on Friday before he was shot by a passer-by and arrested, the Israeli military said.

The victims - a Jewish man, his wife, and four girls - were sitting inside a car when the assailant hurled acid at the woman and the girls in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, the military said.

The army said the Palestinian also tried to attack the father with a screwdriver and then started to run away, but a civilian passerby shot him in the leg. Israeli police arrested the man and took him to a hospital.

The Israeli family members sustained minor injuries, the police said.

Acid attacks are rare in Israel and the Palestinian territories. In 2001, a Palestinian girl seriously injured a young Israeli woman when she entered a Jerusalem shoe shop and threw acid at a saleswoman.

Friday's attack came amid Israel's worst bout of Palestinian violence in nearly a decade. Over the last month, 11 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly in Jerusalem, though there have been attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank.

Earlier Friday, a Palestinian rammed his car into a bus stop where Israeli soldiers were waiting in the West Bank. The troops were not hurt, the military said. The driver was slightly hurt and taken in for questioning to determine whether it was an accident or an intentional assault. Several hours later the military issued a statement saying they concluded the incident was an accident.

Palestinians have used vehicles as weapons in several instances in recent months, resulting in deaths and injuries. Israeli officials say the attacks stem from incitement by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders.

Also Friday, there were scattered clashes in the West Bank between Palestinian demonstrators - some backing the Islamic militant group Hamas, others protesting Jewish settlements - and Israeli soldiers.