IDF shoots dead Palestinian, injures another as car runs West Bank roadblock

Separately, shots fired at bus stop outside Ofra in area that has seen spate of attacks in recent weeks; no injuries

Screen capture from video of a shooting incident at the Ofra junction in the West Bank, December 20, 2018. (Facebook)
Screen capture from video of a shooting incident at the Ofra junction in the West Bank, December 20, 2018. (Facebook)

IDF soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian car that ran through a West Bank roadblock Thursday evening, killing one of its occupants.

The car broke through the so-called Focus checkpoint, the military said in a statement. IDF soldiers manning the position opened fire on the vehicle, killing one of the people inside and injuring another.

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed one man was killed. Palestinian media named him as Qassem Abassi, 17, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

The incident came as tensions ran high following two shootings in the area last week that claimed the lives of two Israeli soldiers and a baby, and amid a general uptick in violence in the West Bank.

Less than an hour before the incident, shots were fired at a bus stop near the settlement of Ofra, north of Jerusalem, causing no injuries. Soldiers at the scene fired at the source of the gunfire, which appeared to be the nearby Palestinian village of Ein Yabrud, the military said.

Hadashot TV news reported that there were several people at the bus stop at the time. An eyewitness said that as soon as the shots rang out, the civilians dove to the ground behind the soldiers.

The IDF said it was investigating both incidents and that troops had set up roadblocks in the area.

Beyond the checkpoint is a road used by Palestinians from al-Bireh and Ramallah to its south, and settlers from Beit El to its north, to reach Route 60. The Ofra junction lies farther along the same road.

Thursday’s violence came after two shooting attacks last week along Route 60, one at the Ofra Junction on December 9 and another at the Givat Assaf Junction on December 13.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and another was critically injured in the Givat Assaf attack. Several Israelis were injured in the attack at the Ofra Junction, including a seven-months pregnant woman, whose baby — delivered in emergency surgery by doctors hours after the attack — died four days later.

An Israeli defense official said Thursday that the Palestinian man suspected of carrying out the terror attack near Givat Assaf is Asem Barghouti, the brother of Salih Barghouti, who was suspected of having carried out the attack near Ofra.

Salih was shot dead on December 12 in a village near Ramallah as he attacked Israeli security forces in an attempt to evade arrest, the Shin Bet security service said.

The attackers from the Givat Assaf shooting are still at large.

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