2 soldiers hurt in alleged West Bank ramming; driver turns self in, claims accident
Army says Palestinian driver accelerated toward troops at Tapuah Junction before fleeing scene; he reportedly claims accident due to poor visibility, fled fearing he’d be shot
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
Two Israeli soldiers were hurt in an alleged ramming attack in the West Bank on Tuesday evening, the military and medics said.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, a Palestinian driver accelerated and intentionally slammed his car into the two soldiers at the Tapuah Junction, near the settlement of the same name in the northern West Bank.
The alleged attacker initially fled the scene, and soldiers launched a manhunt for him.
The driver, a 21-year-old from Nablus, turned himself in to security forces a short while later, claiming the incident was an accident due to low visibility amid heavy fog in the area, Army Radio reported. The driver claimed he initially fled for fear he would be shot by soldiers.
“The individual suspected of the ramming is currently held by security forces and he was transferred for further questioning,” the IDF said.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was taking the victims, both in their 30s and listed in moderate and light condition, to the Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikvah.
The IDF described the incident as an intentional ramming attack, despite the claims of the driver.
The alleged attack came as tensions have been soaring across the West Bank.
اللحظات الأولى بعد عملية الدهــــــــس على حاجز زعترة جنوب نابلس قبل قليل pic.twitter.com/qBexBe4oSp
— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) January 31, 2023
The IDF has pressed on with an anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of attacks that have left 31 people in Israel dead in 2022, and seven more in an attack on Friday.
The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 35 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.
Tensions increased dramatically since Thursday morning, when an IDF raid in the West Bank against a terrorist cell left 10 Palestinians dead — most of them gunmen and members of the cell, though at least one civilian was also killed.
Thursday overnight saw rocket fire from Palestinian terror groups in Gaza and Israeli retaliatory airstrikes.
On Friday night, a Palestinian gunman from East Jerusalem killed seven people and injured three more in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood, and the next morning, a 13-year-old Palestinian shot and wounded two Israeli men near the Old City.
There has also been a rise in revenge attacks by Israelis against Palestinians following the two terror attacks.
The IDF bolstered forces in the West Bank following the recent incidents.