Israeli car hit by gunfire outside Ramallah; woman driver, two kids, unharmed

IDF searches for perpetrator after vehicle shot multiple times near Deir Abu Mash’al

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

A gunman shot up an Israeli car with two children in the back seat outside Ramallah in the West Bank on Wednesday evening, causing damage to the vehicle, but no injuries, the army said.

The Israel Defense Forces launched a search for the perpetrator of the shooting attack, who had fled the scene.

An Israeli woman was driving near the Palestinian village of Deir Abu Mash’al, northwest of Ramallah, when a gunman opened fire at her car, the army said.

Photos from the scene showed multiple bullet holes on the side of the vehicle and on the door; the pictures also showed the children in the back seat.

The shooting attack came hours after a 21-year-old Palestinian man attacked a group of police officers in the Old City of Jerusalem with a screwdriver, stabbing one of them in the head and another in the upper body, police said.

In response, the officers opened fire, shooting the assailant and mortally wounding him.

Screwdriver used to stab a police officer near the Lions' Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on December 14, 2016. (Israel Police)
Screwdriver used to stab a police officer near the Lions’ Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on December 14, 2016. (Israel Police)

A 12-year-old resident of East Jerusalem with a light head wound claimed he was also attacked by the assailant. Police said they were still investigating the claim.

According to police, the assailant was a 21-year-old Palestinian man from the Palestinian village of Bayt Surik, northwest of Jerusalem, who entered Israel without a permit.

He was taken to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in critical condition. After extensive CPR attempts, doctors pronounced him dead, a hospital spokesperson said.

Paramedics started treating the 35-year-old injured officer at the scene before taking him to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

The other injured officer did not require hospitalization.

The East Jerusalem child who was lightly wounded also received treatment from MDA medics at the scene and was taken to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus for further care, the ambulance service said.

A spate of stabbings, car-rammings and shooting attacks by Palestinian assailants that began a year ago has waned over the last six months, though sporadic incidents have persisted.

From October 2015 to October 2016, 36 Israelis, two Americans and an Eritrean national were killed in stabbing, car-ramming and shooting attacks.

According to AFP figures, some 238 Palestinians, a Jordanian and a Sudanese migrant were also killed during the violent spurt, most of them in the course of carrying out attacks, Israel says, and many of the others in clashes with troops in the West Bank and at the Gaza border, as well as in Israeli airstrikes in the Strip.

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