IDF: 2 soldiers hurt in northern West Bank ramming; assailant detained

Palestinian driver initially flees scene in Huwara, is caught by troops near entrance to Nablus with knife in his car

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

An Israeli ambulance rushes to the scene of an alleged car-ramming attack in the West Bank town of Huwara, June 5, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)
An Israeli ambulance rushes to the scene of an alleged car-ramming attack in the West Bank town of Huwara, June 5, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)

Two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a car-ramming attack in the northern West Bank town of Huwara on Monday evening, the military and medical officials said.

The Israel Defense Forces said the Palestinian driver intentionally rammed his car into the two soldiers in the town. The pair were taken to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, which said they were in moderate and light condition respectively.

The Palestinian driver initially fled the scene, before being caught by troops close to an entrance to the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

“IDF forces identified the suspicious vehicle after a short while, began a pursuit, and arrested the terrorist. A knife was found in his vehicle,” the IDF said.

He was handed over to the Shin Bet security agency for further questioning.

It was the second alleged car-ramming attack to take place in Huwara in recent weeks, after a soldier was moderately hurt under similar circumstances on May 21. The driver turned himself in to security forces two days later.

A knife found in the vehicle of a Palestinian driver who allegedly rammed into two soldiers, wounding them, in the West Bank town of Huwara, June 5, 2023. (Courtesy)

Huwara has long been a flashpoint in the West Bank, as it is just about the only Palestinian town that Israelis regularly travel through in order to reach settlements. There are plans to build a bypass road for settlers to avoid having to travel through the town, but the construction work has dragged on for years.

There have been several shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the town in recent months, including the killing of two brothers in February. Also last month, a Palestinian woman stabbed a soldier in Huwara, before being shot dead.

There have also been a handful of instances of settler violence targeting the Palestinian residents of Huwara, including a deadly rampage that unfolded hours after the February attack in which the two Israeli brothers were shot dead. A 37-year-old Palestinian man was killed, some three hundred were wounded — four seriously — and dozens of buildings and vehicles were torched.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the Israeli military conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank, in the wake of a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 20 people and left several more seriously hurt. At least 115 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

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