Bus traveling between Kiryat Arba and Jerusalem comes under gunfire

No injuries in attack on Route 60, near West Bank city of Halhul; police briefly close off area as troops launch manhunt

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

A bus damaged by gunfire along Route 60 near the West Bank town of Halhul on January 15, 2023. (Courtesy)
A bus damaged by gunfire along Route 60 near the West Bank town of Halhul on January 15, 2023. (Courtesy)

Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a bus carrying Israelis traveling along the West Bank’s main north-south highway on Sunday afternoon, causing no injuries, the military and local officials said.

The Israeli bus driver reported coming under gunfire on Route 60, near the West Bank city of Halhul, not far from Hebron. Images from the scene showed one impact on a window near the driver’s seat.

Local officials and first responders said there were no injuries aboard the bulletproof bus traveling between the settlement of Kiryat Arba and Jerusalem.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops scanning the area for suspects found several shell casings.

Police officers closed off the highway in both directions in the area for about an hour following the attack.

In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.

The shooting came during an Israeli anti-terror offensive, mostly focused on the northern West Bank, to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that killed 31 people in 2022.

The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left more than 170 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 13 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.

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