Army says shots fired at IDF post near Ramallah

Troops searching for gunmen; incident comes hours after bulletproof bus carrying students targeted nearby in apparent terror attack

Medical personnel arrive at the scene of a shooting attack on IDF troops near a Ramallah checkpoint on October 31, 2016. (Magen David Adom)
Medical personnel arrive at the scene of a shooting attack on IDF troops near a Ramallah checkpoint on October 31, 2016. (Magen David Adom)

An IDF post situated near the settlement of Beit El in the West Bank came under fire late Sunday night, the army said, hours after shots were fired a civilian bus in the area.

The incident took place on a small army base just outside of the Jalazone refugee camp. IDF soldiers returned fire, according to an army statement. There were no reported injuries.

Searching the area, troops found the bullet casings but no trace of the shooter. Additional soldiers were dispatched to widen the search.

Earlier Sunday night, an armored Israeli bus carrying students came under fire near the settlements of Ofra and Beit El. There were no injuries in the suspected terror attack.

“Damage was done to the bus but no passengers were injured,” the IDF said in a statement. “Israeli forces are currently searching the area to check if the source of the damage was indeed from gunshots.”

A search of the area turned up 11 bullet casings, the army said in a later statement.

The shootings came hours after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a security guard in the heart at the entrance to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

The guard was seriously injured in the attack, and doctors at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center were fighting to save his life, though by Sunday morning they were saying his condition had improved.

The shattered window of a bus that came under fire in the West Bank on December 10, 2017 (courtesy)

The terrorist, who tried to flee the scene after the attack, was arrested by a police officer and civilians after a short chase. He was taken into custody for further questioning.

According to the Shin Bet security service, the suspected terrorist is a 24-year-old Palestinian from the northern West Bank, near the city of Nablus. He was later identified by Palestinian media as Yasin Abu al-Qar’a.

The 24-year-old Qar’a had a permit allowing him to work in the so-called “seam region,” surrounding the West Bank, but not inside Israel proper, the Shin Bet said.

The security service said Qar’a had no known terrorist ties, but his Facebook posts from the hours before the attack indicated that he was motivated by US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Two of his brothers are members of the Palestinian Authority security forces, Hadashot news reported.

Protests, sometimes violent, have flared across the region since Trump announced the new policy on Wednesday. Two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed in clashes on Friday, and two others died in Israeli airstrikes in retaliation for rockets fired into Israel from the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.

Hamas, an Islamist terror group that seeks to destroy Israel, last week called for a new intifada against Israel and urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers. It has also allowed thousands of Gazans to confront Israeli troops at the Gaza border fence in recent days. Its leader Ismail Haniyeh on Friday praised the “blessed intifada,” urged the liberation of Jerusalem and made plain the group was seeking to intensify violence against Israel.

In light of the unrest and potential for violence, additional police officers have been deployed throughout the city of Jerusalem and IDF soldiers deployed across the West Bank.

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