Israeli moderately injured in shooting attack on West Bank highway
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Israeli moderately injured in shooting attack on West Bank highway

Army launches manhunt to find perpetrators after victim wounded by gunshot to the shin at junction connecting Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

An Israeli vehicle hit by gunfire near the Tekoa settlement in the West Bank on July 9, 2016. (Etzion bloc spokesperson)
An Israeli vehicle hit by gunfire near the Tekoa settlement in the West Bank on July 9, 2016. (Etzion bloc spokesperson)

An Israeli man was moderately wounded in a drive-by shooting attack on Saturday night near the West Bank settlement of Metzad between Bethlehem and Hebron, army and local official said.

The victim, a man in his 30s, received initial treatment on the scene before being taken by military ambulance to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for further care, the Magen David Adom rescue service said.

He suffered a gunshot wound to the shin, according to a spokesperson for the hospital.

“Multiple bullet holes were identified on the vehicle,” the army said.

The man’s wife and five children were in the vehicle with him during the shooting, a spokesperson for the Etzion bloc said.

The shooting attack took place south of what’s known as the “T” junction on the highway connecting the east and west sides of the Etzion settlement bloc.

The attack was original reported as taking place near Tekoa, but local officials later clarified it took place between the small settlement of Metzad and the “T” junction.

The Israel Defense Forces launched a manhunt to locate the perpetrator or perpetrators of the attack, a military spokesperson said.

The army closed off the village of Sa’ir as an “additional security measure” during its search for the suspect, an IDF spokesperson said.

Palestinian media reported that following the closure, clashes broke out between IDF soldiers and residents in Sa’ir.

The Tekoa settlement was closed off immediately following the attack, according to a message sent to residents.

Davidi Perl, head of the Etzion bloc regional council, released a statement following the attack, calling for government action.

“Enough! The ‘Lone Wolf Intifada’ has come out of its recess and returned with guns. The prime minister and defense minister need to make a dramatic change on the ground. We must return the security to the citizens of the State of Israel,” Perl said in a statement.

The attack Saturday comes after the brutal killing of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel last Thursday morning in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron. Ariel was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while she was sleeping in her bedroom.

A day later, Rabbi Miki Mark, a yeshiva head from the settlement of Otniel, was killed in a drive-by shooting by Palestinian terrorists while driving on Route 60 with his family. Mark’s wife was seriously injured and two of his children were wounded in the shooting attack which caused the family’s car to overturn.

This past week also saw a number of attempted attacks on troops. On Wednesday, three IDF soldiers were lightly injured in a suspected car-ramming attack near the Neve Daniel settlement outside of Bethlehem. Security officials were treating the incident as a suspected terror attack by the Palestinian driver, who was seriously hurt.

On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian woman as she attempted to stab one of them at a bus stop near the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The woman received medical treatment at the scene before being taken to a nearby hospital for further treatment, a military spokesperson said.

Since October 2015, 35 Israelis and four others have been killed and hundreds more injured in the wave of Palestinian attacks, though the violence had dramatically waned of late. More than 200 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while carrying out attacks and the rest in clashes with troops, Israeli officials say.

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