Israel orders high alert at all West Bank crossings after overnight ramming

Defense Minister Gantz calls for investigation into attack at Te’enim checkpoint, which comes amid rising tensions with Palestinians and a wave of ‘lone-wolf’ attacks

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The Te’enim Checkpoint in the West Bank after a Palestinian teen rammed a guard and was shot, December 6, 2021 (Courtesy)
The Te’enim Checkpoint in the West Bank after a Palestinian teen rammed a guard and was shot, December 6, 2021 (Courtesy)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered checkpoints across the West Bank to go on high alert on Monday following a ramming attack earlier in the morning in which a security guard was seriously wounded, his office said.

The development comes amid a surge in so-called “lone-wolf” Palestinian attacks against Israelis and a general increase in tensions.

“The defense minister ordered a comprehensive investigation, that the lessons be learned and level of alertness and readiness be raised in all crossings in the area of Judea and Samaria,” Gantz’s office said, referring to the West Bank by its biblical name.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on Monday, a Palestinian teenager drove his car at high speed into the Te’enim Crossing near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, striking a security officer, said the Defense Ministry, which runs the checkpoint.

Other guards at the checkpoint opened fire at the driver, fatally wounding him. He was taken to Kfar Saba’s Meir Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The wounded officer was taken to Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv and a few hours later his condition improved to moderate. Magen David Adom medics said the guard, 34, sustained head and chest injuries and was conscious.

Palestinian media identified the assailant as Muhammad Nidal Younis. According to the Defense Ministry, he was 16 years old from the Palestinian city of Nablus.

Palestinian news outlets reported that Israeli security forces raided Younis’s home in Nablus following the attack.

The predawn ramming attack came amid a general uptick in violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Just over a day earlier, a Palestinian man stabbed a Jewish civilian in a suspected terror attack near the Old City of Jerusalem, with two Border Police officers shooting dead the assailant.

The officers were questioned after a video of the incident showed them firing several shots at the attacker once he was already lying on the ground. Police video of the entire incident that was later released showed that the officers did not immediately fire at the assailant, but did so only after he moved, apparently trying to get up.

The two, who have received significant backing from the prime minister, police chief and other top officials, say they feared he was still dangerous when they shot him seconds after the attack.

There have been five “lone-wolf” Palestinian attacks in under three weeks.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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