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Palestinian gunmen fire on bus in West Bank; no injuries

IDF reports shooting near Ofra settlement as officials brace for possible retaliation after killing of 2 senior terror group fighters

Damage caused to an Israeli bus in a shooting attack near Ofra in the West Bank, early December 2, 2022. (Courtesy)
Damage caused to an Israeli bus in a shooting attack near Ofra in the West Bank, early December 2, 2022. (Courtesy)

Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a bus in the West Bank in the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning in an attempted terror attack, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Bullets hit the bus near the Ofra settlement, north of Jerusalem, but caused no injuries, the IDF said.

Troops were scouring the area in a search for suspects.

The reinforced bus, empty at the time of the attack, was traveling to Ariel on the Route 60 highway when it was hit shortly after midnight.

After the shooting, the bus continued on its route until it met IDF forces at the Shiloh settlement farther to the north.

In a separate incident on Thursday night, troops spotted a suspect who was allegedly throwing firebombs near the settlement of Givon Hahadasha, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Damage caused to an Israeli bus in a shooting attack near Ofra in the West Bank, early December 2, 2022. (Courtesy)

The soldiers fired at the assailant and “identified a hit.” He was taken by the Palestinian Red Crescent for treatment.

In a search of the area, the troops found additional firebombs, the IDF said. There were no injuries to Israeli forces.

Firebombs found by Israeli troops near Givon Hahadasha, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, December 1, 2022. (Courtesy)

Tensions have been high in the West Bank over the past year, with the IDF launching a major anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 31 people in Israel and the West Bank dead since the start of the year.

The operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids, but has also left more than 150 Palestinians dead, many of them — but not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

Early Thursday, two senior terrorists were killed in overnight clashes, including a top Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) field commander, sparking fears of further escalation.

The casualties were identified as Mohammed Ayman Saadi from Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Na’im Zubeidi from the Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, though the various armed factions are known to work together in Jenin against the IDF.

The two fighters were killed in heavy fighting with Israeli troops that broke out during a predawn arrest raid near the northern West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp. Palestinian media reported that as many as 20 other people were wounded.

Both PIJ and the Hamas terror group that rules the Gaza Strip threatened to hit back over the deaths.

Israeli officials were reportedly concerned about potential retaliation, including in the form of rocket fire from Gaza.

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