Gunfire toward West Bank settlement; no injuries reported

IDF says it found shell casings in the area and is searching for suspects; no damage to buildings

A general view of the settlement Avnei Hefetz, east of Tulkarem, July 31, 2009 (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
A general view of the settlement Avnei Hefetz, east of Tulkarem, July 31, 2009 (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

The settlement of Avnei Hefetz in the northern West Bank came under fire Friday evening, the military said in a statement.

There were no injuries or damage reported.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops found shell casings during a search of the area and that a hunt was underway for suspects.

Over the past year, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted troops carrying out arrest raids, military posts, Israeli settlements and civilians on roads, especially in the northern West Bank.

Avnei Hefetz was also attacked in April, with a number of buildings damaged when a suspected Palestinian gunman opened fire. Troops found some 30 shell casings nearby, as well as bullet holes in several homes. There were no injuries.

Last month a man was injured when a Palestinian gunman opened fire at Israeli vehicles driving near Avnei Hefetz.

Samaria Regional Council chair Yossi Dagan inspects damage caused to an Israeli-owned car following a shooting attack near Avnei Hefetz in the northern West Bank, May 2, 2023. (Sergei Kamshev/Samaria Reigonal Council)

Friday’s shooting came amid rocketing tensions in the West Bank in recent days.

On Monday, the Israel Defense Forces carried out a raid on the West Bank city of Jenin, during which seven Palestinians were killed, including two teens.

On Tuesday, four Israelis were shot dead by two Palestinian gunmen at a gas station near the settlement.

Hours later, an unknown number of settler vigilantes rampaged through several Palestinian towns in the northern West Bank.

On Wednesday, hundreds of settlers also tore through the Palestinian towns of Turmus Ayya and Urif — shortly after the victims of the attack were buried — shooting at residents, setting homes, cars and fields on fire and terrorizing residents.

One Palestinian — 27-year-old Omar Qattin — was killed in unclear circumstances in Turmus Ayya.

Health officials said another 12 Palestinians were wounded during the attack by settlers and in clashes with Israeli troops. At least four were wounded by gunfire, including one listed in serious condition, according to the Palestinian Authority health ministry.

On Thursday evening, Palestinian media outlets reported violent clashes between settlers and Palestinians near the West Bank village of Jalud, close to the settlement of Shiloh, and not far from Eli.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 24 people.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 132 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Shin Bet said it has recorded 147 “significant” terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank this year, including 120 shootings.

The Shin Bet said security forces have foiled 375 significant attacks so far this year, including some 300 planned shootings. “Significant attacks” is a term that encompasses shootings, bombings, car rammings and kidnappings.

In 2022, Israeli security officials recorded nearly 300 shooting attacks, the vast majority in the West Bank, and said the military and Shin Bet foiled around 500 planned significant attacks.

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