‘I was sure I was going to die’: Civilian, 4 soldiers hurt in West Bank shooting

Meanwhile, Palestinian is killed in clash as IDF troops operate in Nablus’s Balata refugee camp to arrest wanted men

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Bullet holes are seen on an Israeli military vehicle (right) and an Israeli-owned car (left) near the Reihan checkpoint, after they came under fire at a nearby junction in the northern West Bank, June 13, 2023. (Samaria Regional Council)
Bullet holes are seen on an Israeli military vehicle (right) and an Israeli-owned car (left) near the Reihan checkpoint, after they came under fire at a nearby junction in the northern West Bank, June 13, 2023. (Samaria Regional Council)

Four Israeli soldiers and a civilian were wounded in a drive-by shooting attack in the northern West Bank on Tuesday afternoon, the military and medics said.

A wounded Israeli motorist, 33, reported coming under fire from a passing car at the Efes intersection located between the settlements of Mevo Dotan and Hermesh, west of the Palestinian city of Jenin.

The Israel Defense Forces said the same gunmen then opened fire at a military vehicle that had attempted to chase after them in the nearby village of Yabed. Four soldiers were wounded.

The civilian driver, identified in Hebrew media as father of five Menahem Ordman from Mevo Dotan, reached the Reihan checkpoint, where he was treated by Magen David Adom medics. MDA said he was listed in moderate condition after suffering gunshot wounds to his upper body.

The civilian motorist and three of the soldiers were taken to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, which said one was listed in moderate condition and the other three were in good condition.

The fourth soldier was taken by helicopter to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa in moderate condition, MDA said.

Blood is seen inside an Israeli-owned car near the Reihan checkpoint, after it came under fire at a nearby junction in the northern West Bank, June 13, 2023. (Samaria Regional Council)

The IDF said large numbers of Israeli forces began searches in the area and were blocking off a number of roads near Yabed.

Footage published to social media showed a white SUV being set on fire in Yabed, with some reports claiming the car belonged to the gunmen. IDF troops later seized the vehicle, according to Palestinian media.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Ordman related to Hebrew media how the terror attack against him unfolded. He said he had stopped at the side of the road to speak on his phone when a white car with darkened windows and yellow Israeli license plates approached from the opposite direction. The car pulled up close to his, a rear window opened, and a gunman opened fire at him with an M-16 rifle.

“I was sure I was going to die,” he said. “As I realized I was still alive I pulled out my pistol and returned fire.”

Ordman said that as soon as he drew his own gun the other car drove away. The two vehicles were so close he could hear one of the attackers calling out that they should end the attack and make their getaway. Ordman did not estimate how many attackers there were.

“I understood that I was injured, the car was full of blood,” he said. Ordman then drove himself to the IDF checkpoint to seek help.

Screen capture from video of Menahem Ordman, who was injured in a shooting attack in the West Bank, June 13, 2023. (Twitter. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Ordman’s wife, Tehila, said she was at home having lunch with their children when a neighbor came and told her about the attack. Her husband later called her from the ambulance that was taking him to the hospital, Ynet reported.

“This isn’t an easy period for us,” she said. “We travel on the roads and really there is always a feeling of concern.”

Eden Halfon, uncle of one of the soldiers hurt in the shooting, said his nephew was still struggling to talk about what happened.

“It is hard for him to talk, he still can’t digest the situation,” Halfon said in the Ynet report. “He needs to recover a bit.”

The attack came exactly two weeks after an Israeli man, 32-year-old Meir Tamari, was shot dead by Palestinian terrorists outside Hermesh.

The military was looking into the possibility that the attack on Tuesday was carried out by the same gunmen. The car set on fire in Yabed bore some resemblance to the white SUV used by the Palestinian terrorists outside Hermesh.

Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted troops, military posts, Israeli settlements and civilians on roads in the West Bank.

Palestinian man killed in West Bank raid

Shortly before the shooting attack, Palestinian media reported that Israeli forces had entered the Balata refugee camp, adjacent to the West Bank city of Nablus.

Clashes erupted between local gunmen and Israeli forces, as the latter surrounded the home of a wanted Palestinian.

Palestinian health officials said a young man was killed during the raid and at least two others were wounded.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry named the slain man as Fares Hashash, 19. The ministry said he was fatally shot in the chest, abdomen and lower body.

The IDF said that troops and Border Police officers located an improvised weapon and bomb during the raid, but no suspects were detained.

“During the activity, the forces spotted an armed gunman attempting to flee the residence and responded with live fire toward the gunman,” the IDF said, adding that the suspect was hit.

The IDF said that troops also returned fire at rioters hurling explosive devices and stones, and toward the source of gunfire directed at soldiers.

The IDF said it was aware of reports of two Palestinian minors wounded amid the raid. “The cause for the injuries is unknown at the moment, and the incident is under review,” the IDF said, adding that one was treated initially by army medics.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank, in the wake of a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 20 people and left several more seriously hurt.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 117 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under more questionable circumstances.

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