Nablus – Three Israelis were wounded Sunday in a drive-by shooting in the occupied West Bank, medics and the army said, with Defence Minister Benny Gantz blaming “terrorists” for the attack.
The shooting at a bus station at Tapuah junction south of Nablus bore the hallmark of Palestinian militants.
“A suspicious vehicle arrived at the junction and fired towards Israeli civilians who were present at the scene,” the army said in a statement.
“IDF (army) troops responded with fire towards the suspicious vehicle which escaped the scene,” it added.
Israel’s emergency medical service Magen David Adom said three people in their 20s were evacuated to hospital, one in critical condition.
The three were identified by officials as students from a religious seminary in the nearby settlement of Itamar.
The army said its forces had blocked off routes and were pursuing the assailants.
Security forces will not rest “until they apprehend the terrorists behind the attack”, Gantz’s office said in a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We will not allow terrorism to raise its head and we will strike our enemies with force.”
Soldiers who entered Beita, a village south of Nablus, were confronted by a “violent riot” during which Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs at them”, the army said.
“The troops responded with riot dispersal means and with fire,” it said, with Palestinian security sources reporting three people seriously wounded by gunfire.
No Palestinian group claimed the shooting, but Yigal Dilmoni, head of the Yesha settlers’ council, blamed “the Palestinian Authority and their friends in (Islamist movement) Hamas”.
Earlier Sunday, a Palestinian woman was seriously wounded at Gush Etzion junction in the southern West Bank after approaching Israeli soldiers with a knife.
Video footage showed the soldiers repeatedly calling on her to stop, before shooting her.
She later died of her wounds in a Jerusalem hospital, with Israeli officials naming her as Fahima al-Hroub, born in 1961, from Bethlehem.
According to Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, security forces in 2020 thwarted 238 shooting attacks and 70 stabbings in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem. — AFP