Gunmen target taxi, bus in West Bank terror attack; 1 lightly injured
Shots fired at Israeli vehicles on road between Palestinian town of Bayt Furik and Elon Moreh settlement; security forces search for suspects; armed faction claims responsibility
An Israeli man was lightly injured when gunmen opened fire at vehicles on a West Bank road on Sunday morning, the military and medics said.
The injured man, 40, was driving a taxi along Route 555 between the Palestinian town of Bayt Furik and the settlement of Elon Moreh.
The Rescuers Without Borders emergency service said the injured man was hit in the back by shrapnel after a bullet hit the taxi.
“I left Elon Moreh this morning, as I do every day,” the driver later said in a video released by the Shomron Regional Council.
“At one point I thought I had a flat tire because I heard a loud noise. After about a minute I realized it wasn’t a flat tire and that I was being shot at. I felt something on my shoulder. I didn’t know if the bullet penetrated my body or not. I kept driving and stepped on the gas,” he recounted.
The Israel Defense Forces said he was able to reach a nearby army base where he received medical treatment.
A bus driver reported that the windshield of his vehicle was hit by a bullet in the same area. There were no injuries on the bus.
Video circulating on social media apparently showed the moment the bus was targeted.
#فيديو يوثق لحظة وقوع عملية اطلاق النار بالقرب من مستوطنة الون موريه، شرق نابلس. pic.twitter.com/IXQPlJd3l4
— صوت الأقصى (@Alaqsavoice) October 2, 2022
Security forces closed the road and began searching the area for the gunmen.
An armed Palestinian faction calling itself Lion’s Den claimed responsibility for the shooting in a statement.
The group — based in Nablus’ old city — was established in recent months by members of various terror groups. Some of its members were apparently previously affiliated with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Lion’s Den is tied to Ibrahim Nabulsi, a Palestinian gunman who was killed in an Israeli raid in Nablus last month.
It has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in the northern West Bank in recent weeks.
ירו עכשיו על אוטובוס מלא בילדים ליד אלון מורה. מזעזע!
אבל הכל טוב, אפשר להמשיך את היום כרגיל כי זה קרה בשומרון וזה פחות מעניין. pic.twitter.com/TDaKyIXxVI
— David Macales ???????? (@DMacales) October 2, 2022
The shooting came amid a surge in violence in the West Bank.
Later on Sunday, a 24-year-old Israeli man was lightly hurt after Palestinians hurled stones at his vehicle, close to where the shooting took place, medics said.
Palestinian gunmen in recent months have targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
On Saturday, a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli security forces in a West Bank town near Jerusalem as he allegedly attempted to hurl Molotov cocktails, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.
Police said officers were in the area to respond to a violent riot, which included Palestinians hurling explosive devices, firebombs and stones at forces.
In the predawn hours of Saturday, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at Israeli troops operating near the village of Burqa, and at the settlement of Beit El in a separate incident, the IDF said.
The Israel Defense Forces and police have been on heightened alert since last week amid the Jewish holiday season, with tensions already high due to an Israeli anti-terror offensive that has seen over 100 Palestinians killed and more than 2,000 arrested in nightly raids in the West Bank.
Israeli troops have also repeatedly come under gunfire during nightly raids in Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
The military launched the arrest operations after a series of attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and the beginning of May.