IDF says troops fire on Palestinians hurling Molotov cocktails, wounding one

Soldiers ambush three suspects near West Bank town of Halhul, after apparent string of firebombing attacks along Route 60 highway

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

Illustrative: A Palestinian hurls a Molotov cocktail toward Israeli security forces during clashes, near the city of Hebron, in the West Bank, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)
Illustrative: A Palestinian hurls a Molotov cocktail toward Israeli security forces during clashes, near the city of Hebron, in the West Bank, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)

Israel Defense Forces soldiers thwarted an attempt by Palestinian assailants to attack Israeli drivers near the West Bank town of Halhul on Monday night, the military said.

The IDF said in a statement that troops had ambushed the group who were hurling firebombs at cars on a main highway near the town, which is close to the city of Hebron.

One suspect was hit by troops’ fire, and was arrested, the IDF said.

It added that he was taken to a hospital, and would later be interrogated by authorities.

The IDF did not provide any further information about the condition of the wounded assailant.

The other two suspects apparently fled the scene.

Israelis traveling along the area’s main traffic artery, Route 60, have repeatedly been attacked with Molotov cocktails and stones in recent weeks.

Last week, a Palestinian teen was shot dead by Israeli troops while allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at passing cars on Route 60 near Bethlehem.

Illustrative: Israeli soldiers seen in the Palestinian village of Halhul, near the West Bank city of Hebron, on June 30, 2014. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The West Bank has seen a rise in violent confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in recent weeks.

Two Palestinians were shot dead two weeks ago during confrontations with Israeli forces. Nihad al-Barghouti, 19, was shot and killed near Nebi Saleh after allegedly throwing firebombs at a military post, although Palestinian witnesses dispute the matter.

The second Palestinian, 17-year-old Mohammad Abu Salah, was killed during a firefight between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the town of Silat al-Harithiya, near Jenin. The troops had arrived after dark to demolish part of a home belonging to a Palestinian charged in a terror attack in which yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman was killed near the Homesh outpost in December.

Israeli undercover police killed three other Palestinians during a rare daytime raid in the West Bank city of Nablus earlier this month. The Israeli troops fired dozens of rounds into the car before seizing two M-16 rifles from the vehicle and driving away from the scene.

Israeli defense officials said the three were behind a string of recent shooting attacks on military posts. They were later claimed as members by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a loose coalition of armed groups affiliated with the ruling Fatah party.

Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.

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