Four Israelis injured in shooting near West Bank settlement

Victims attacked in suspected drive-by shooting near Shvut Rachel; IDF soldiers on scene searching for suspects

An Israeli vehicle hit by gunfire near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, north of Ramallah, June 29, 2015. (Courtesy: Israel Hatzolah)
An Israeli vehicle hit by gunfire near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, north of Ramallah, June 29, 2015. (Courtesy: Israel Hatzolah)

Four Israelis were injured in a shooting near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, north of Ramallah, on Monday night.

Three victims were in moderate condition and a fourth suffered serious injuries. Medical teams treated them at the scene and evacuated them to Jerusalem hospitals. Magen David Adom paramedics told Walla News the victims were in their twenties, and had been hit in their legs.

The four had been driving back from a basketball game near Route 60, the main north-south artery running through the West Bank, when they were attacked. Security forces were initially unsure whether the four were shot at from a passing vehicle or a roadside ambush.

Following the attack the army deployed a large number of soldiers to search the vicinity for the suspected perpetrators. The nearby settlements of Migdalim, Tapuah, Rachelim and Nofei Nehemia were placed on high alert status. Troops reportedly set up checkpoints in the area and were checking vehicles for possible suspects.

Ynet news reported that searches would likely be widened to nearby Palestinian villages.

Photos posted on social media showed the victims’ vehicle smeared with blood and riddled with bullet holes.

The incident took place near the settlements of Shilo and Shvut Rachel, and not far from where an Israeli was shot dead by a Palestinian assailant earlier this month. The shooter in the previous attack remains at large.

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The head of the Yesha Council, an umbrella movement of Jewish settlers, said the attack “joins a long line of serious terror incidents that began after the start of (the Muslim holy month of) Ramadan.”

Avi Roeh said he hoped “security forces will reach the required conclusions and ensure that security and normality are restored.”

Monday night’s attack was the sixth in the past two weeks. Earlier Monday a female soldier was wounded in a stabbing attack at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

She sustained wounds to her neck and was in moderate to serious condition. Her female attacker was detained and questioned.

On June 19 a 25-year-old Israeli man, Danny Gonen, died after being shot near the settlement of Dolev, northwest of Jerusalem.

Gonen and his friend, Netanel Hadad, were traveling in a car after visiting a spring near Dolev, when they were flagged down by a Palestinian man, seemingly asking them for assistance. The man then pulled a gun out of a bag and opened fire on them at point-blank range, mortally wounding Gonen. Hadad was moderately injured.

This past year has seen a rising number of attacks by individual Palestinians against Israeli civilians, including shooting attacks, stabbings and vehicular attacks.

The IDF is on particularly high alert due to Ramadan, which usually ushers in a spike in violent incidents.

On Saturday night unknown assailants shot at an Israeli ambulance near a West Bank settlement, damaging the vehicle but not causing any injuries.

Last Sunday a Palestinian man stabbed and seriously injured an Israeli Border Police officer outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate. The assailant was shot and captured.

On Friday a Palestinian assailant was shot and killed by IDF soldiers after he opened fire on Israeli troops at a checkpoint in the West Bank. No soldiers were injured in the attack.


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