JERUSALEM - A Palestinian described as mentally unstable threw acid at a family of Israelis who gave him a ride in the West Bank Friday before being shot and wounded, residents and the army said.

The incident came as tensions run high in the occupied territories after months of unrest, and after the death of a senior Palestinian official in a confrontation with Israeli troops.

“A vehicle carrying a family with four girls picked up a hitchhiker” near a checkpoint outside Bethlehem and close to the Gush Etzion settlement area, an army statement said. “The hitchhiker threw acid on the passengers, injuring them lightly.” The attacker got out of the vehicle and was shot in the leg by a civilian and arrested. It was unclear how seriously he was wounded.

Israeli public radio said a man and three children were injured in the attack. The Israelis were taken to hospital, an AFP photographer said, and emergency services confirmed they had suffered light wounds.

Palestinians residents named the attacker as Jamal Ghayyada, 46, from the nearby village of Nahalin, saying he was mentally unstable and had received treatment at a mental health clinic in Bethlehem. He had been arrested before, they added. The incident came at a time of high tensions in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, where a senior Palestinian official died in a confrontation with Israeli troops on Wednesday. The Palestinian leadership blamed Israel for Ziad Abu Ein’s death and has threatened a response, amid speculation the Palestinian Authority would suspend security coordination with Israel in the West Bank.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, several Palestinian protesters were lightly to moderately wounded during clashes with Israeli troops, Palestinian security and medical sources said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said he supported Egypt’s crackdown on tunnels linking the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to the Sinai Peninsula and any other action the country took to protect itself from militants, according to a media report Thursday.

“We have supported all the precautionary measures taken by the Egyptian authorities to close the tunnels and stop the trafficking of arms and the passage of people between Gaza and the Sinai,” Abbas said in an interview with Egyptian magazine Al-Ahram Al-Arabi due to be published on Saturday, extracts of which were published by MENA news agency.

“We will continue to support any measure protecting Egypt from danger,” Abbas was quoted as saying.

Since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army, the country’s new authorities have accused Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood of conspiring with Hamas.

The Egyptian military has stepped up the destruction of tunnels from Gaza that it says are used by the Palestinian Islamist movement to smuggle arms, food and money.

The army says it has destroyed more than 1,600 such tunnels since Morsi’s ouster.

Egypt has also begun setting up a buffer zone along its border with the Gaza Strip, which will see hundreds of homes demolished, in order to prevent militant infiltration and arms smuggling.

Bitter rivals Hamas, the de facto rulers of Gaza, and Abbas’s Fatah movement, which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, agreed on a national unity government earlier this year but reconciliation efforts have repeatedly hit stumbling blocks.

Cairo also suspects Hamas militants of helping militants carry out a spate of deadly attacks against Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula recently.

In one such attack in late October, at least 30 soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing in the Sinai Peninsula.

“If it is proved that Hamas members are implicated in terrorist attacks against Egypt, it has the right to go after them and punish them,” Abbas said, according to MENA.

Militants say they are taking revenge against a police crackdown on Morsi supporters that has left more than 1,400 dead.

Moreover, unidentified assailants opened fire on the Israeli embassy in Athens with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in the early hours of Friday, police said, but no injuries or damage were reported.

Four people on two motorcycles fired shots at the embassy building in a northern suburb of Athens, a police official said. Bullets were lodged in the walls and 54 spent bullet cases were found about 40 metres (yards) from the building, police said.

The governmnent condemned the attack saying it was an attempt to create instability at a “tough” moment for the country.

Greece wants to exit an unpopular EU/IMF bailout and has pushed forward a presidential vote in parliament which could trigger snap elections.

“Any terrorist attack hitting at the heart of democracy hits the heart of the country,” government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi said.

Police cordoned off the area around the embassy, which has not been a target in other acts of violence in Greece in recent years as an economic crisis raises social and political tensions.

Shots were also fired at the German ambassador’s residence in Athens a year ago. Ballistic tests showed that the same weapons were used in both attacks, police said.

A Greek urban guerrilla group, the People’s Fighters Group, claimed responsibility in February for the gun attack on the German ambassador’s residence.

The same group claimed an attack on the headquarters of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy party.

Bomb and arson attacks that cause little damage and rarely injure are common in Greece, which has a long history of political violence. The attacks have picked up in recent years as the country has imposed austerity cuts to tackle its deepest economic crisis since World War Two.