Israeli bus comes under fire in West Bank; no injuries

Israeli bus comes under fire in West Bank; no injuries

Army searching for gunmen near Ofra settlement after bulletproof vehicle carrying students targeted in apparent terror attack

A view of houses in the Israeli settlement of Ofra in the central West Bank on November 17, 2016. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)
A view of houses in the Israeli settlement of Ofra in the central West Bank on November 17, 2016. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

An armored Israeli bus came under fire near the West Bank settlements of Ofra and Beit El on Sunday evening, hours after a Palestinian terrorist seriously injured a security guard in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem.

There were no injuries in the suspected terror attack on the bus carrying students.

Israeli security forces were searching the area for the attackers.

“Damage was done to the bus but no passengers were injured,” the IDF said in a statement. “Israeli forces are currently searching the area to check if the source of the damage was indeed from gunshots.”

A search of the area turned up 11 bullet casings, the army said in a later statement.

In a separate incident an 18 year old was lightly wounded when stones were thrown at a bus near the Arab town of Shfaram in northern Israel.

The attack came hours after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a security guard in the chest, at the entrance to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

The guard, who was stabbed in his heart, was seriously injured in the attack. Doctors at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center were fighting to save his life.

The shattered window of a bus that came under fire in the West Bank on December 10, 2017 (courtesy)

The terrorist, who tried to flee the scene after the attack, was arrested by a police officer and civilians after a short chase. He was taken into custody for further questioning.

According to the Shin Bet security service, the suspected terrorist is a 24-year-old Palestinian from the northern West Bank, near the city of Nablus. He was later identified by Palestinian media as Yasin Abu al-Qar’a.

The 24-year-old Qar’a had a permit allowing him to work in the so-called “seam region,” surrounding the West Bank, but not inside Israel proper, the Shin Bet said.

The security service said he had no known terrorist ties, but his Facebook posts from the hours before the attack indicated that Qar’a was motivated by US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Two of his brothers are members of the Palestinian Authority security forces, Hadashot news reported.

Protests, sometimes violent, have flared across the region since Trump announced the new policy on Wednesday. Two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed in clashes on Friday, and two others died in Israeli air strikes in retaliation for rockets fired into Israel from the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.

Hamas, an Islamist terror group that seeks to destroy Israel, last week called for a new intifada against Israel and urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers. It has also allowed thousands of Gazans to confront Israeli troops at the Gaza border fence in recent days. Its leader Ismail Haniyeh on Friday praised the “blessed intifada,” urged the liberation of Jerusalem and made plain the group was seeking to intensify violence against Israel.

In light of the unrest and potential for violence, additional police officers have been deployed throughout the city of Jerusalem and IDF forces deployed across the West Bank.

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