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Young girls in car attacked with acid by Palestinian, Israel says

By Josh Levs, Ben Wedeman and Michael Schwartz, CNN
updated 4:55 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Israel releases a photo of the car in which the acid attack occurred
  • A Palestinian attacked the family and a hitchhiker they were picking up, the IDF says
  • The suspect is a 44-year-old Palestinian who's been involved in "hostile" activities, IDF says
  • Scattered protests take place in West Bank over death of Palestinian minister

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Young girls were sitting in the back of their family's car, with their backpacks and a Hello Kitty notebook, when a Palestinian attacker tossed acid at them Friday, Israeli authorities said.

The Jewish family, including four girls, stopped to pick up an Israeli hitchhiker near a Jerusalem checkpoint, The Israel Defense Forces said.

A nearby Palestinian man "attacked both the passengers and the hitchhiker with acid, wounding them lightly to moderately," the IDF said in a statement.

The wounded hitchhiker and another civilian "began chasing after the terrorist," who turned on them with a screwdriver, the statement said.

A nearby driver then tried to "halt the Palestinian with his vehicle. The Palestinian attempted to flee and the driver fired at his lower extremities, identifying two hits. The terrorist, as well as the victims, received preliminary medical care at the scene."

The perpetrator was a 44-year-old from Nehalin who "is known to have been previously involved in illegal and hostile riots and activities," the IDF said.

The Palestinian man was taken to a hospital in Hadassah ein Kerem to be treated, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

The IDF tweeted what it said was a photo of the car in which the attack occurred.

Israelis have faced a series of attacks in recent weeks, including stabbings. On Monday, a Palestinian teenage girl with a knife assaulted an Israeli man in the West Bank.

A slew of attacks

At least 10 Israelis have died in attacks since October. A young Palestinian girl was also reportedly killed in ethnic violence.

Meanwhile, there have been scattered protests in the West Bank over the death of a senior Palestinian Authority official after a confrontation with Israeli troops.

Ziyad Abu Ein died Wednesday after clashes with Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian village of Turmusaya, northeast of the West Bank city of Ramallah, longtime chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said in a statement.

Abu Ein -- a minister in Abbas' Fatah party and head of the Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlements -- was there participating in nonviolent demonstrations to mark international Human Rights Day, according to Erakat's statement.

There were varying reports of exactly how Abu Ein died, including what role -- if any -- Israeli authorities played in it.

Israeli authorities ramped up security in the West Bank and Jerusalem in anticipation of protests after Friday prayers.

The largest were in the West Bank city of Hebron, where hundreds of people clashed with security forces.

CNN's Michael Schwartz reported from Jerusalem, Ben Wedeman reported from Qalandiya and Josh Levs reported from Atlanta. CNN's Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report from London.

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