Israeli injured in West Bank IED attack, sparking fiery settler retaliation

Man suffers light wounds in incident near illegal Homesh outpost; cars, home torched in subsequent riot in village of Burqa, with some Palestinians reported injured in attacks

Cars set alight in the Palestinian village of Burqa in the northern West Bank on February 19, 2024. (Courtesy Burqa Municipality)
Cars set alight in the Palestinian village of Burqa in the northern West Bank on February 19, 2024. (Courtesy Burqa Municipality)

An Israeli man was lightly wounded when his car was bombed in the West Bank Monday night, touching off a round of suspected retaliatory attacks by extremist settlers in a nearby Palestinian village.

Authorities said an explosive device was hurled at a car carrying a group of Israelis near the illegal northern West Bank outpost of Homesh.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said a 25-year-old was slightly hurt by glass shards from the blast.

Four other people in the car managed to come out unscathed following the attack, which took place about halfway between Homesh and the settlement of Shavei Shomron.

One of them, Avia Antman, was in a vehicle targeted by Palestinian terrorists in a December 2021 shooting near Homesh that killed Yehuda Dimentman, who had attended a yeshiva set up at Homesh, which had been home to a settlement prior to 2005.

Following the attack, area settlers retaliated in the nearby Palestinian village of Burqa, the Yesh Din rights group said, publishing footage showing a number of cars set ablaze.

There were also reports of a Palestinian home torched and of several villagers injured as settlers rioted.

Burqa residents reported that IDF troops who arrived at the scene prevented Palestinian emergency services from reaching the area, according to Yesh Din.

In its own statement on the incident, the Israeli army said it managed to disperse the rioters and was looking into the reports of vandalism, arson, and injuries to Burqa residents.

The back-to-back attacks came with international concern mounting about unrest in the West Bank since Hamas’s October 7 shock attack on southern Israel sparked the country’s war against Hamas.

They also came as Israel faces increasing international pressure to crack down on settler violence, with the United States, the United Kingdom, and France recently slapping sanctions on extremist settlers alleged to have carried out attacks on Palestinians.

The moves indicated a complete lack of faith in Israeli law enforcement, which rarely succeeds in prosecuting Israeli suspects, compared to Palestinian perpetrators who are convicted of attacks against Israelis at far, far higher rates.

The Israeli military has stepped up its near-daily raids across the West Bank in the aftermath of Hamas’s October 7 attack, in operations aimed at dismantling Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas.

Since October 7, Israeli troops have arrested more than 3,100 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,350 affiliated with Hamas, according to security authorities.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry says that more than 300 West Bank Palestinians have been killed in that time.

Based on military estimates, the vast majority of those killed since October 7 were shot during clashes amid arrest raids, and many of them, according to data seen by The Times of Israel, were armed with either a firearm or an explosive device.

The IDF is aware of at least three cases of uninvolved Palestinians being killed by troops in recent months, and a handful of cases of settlers killing Palestinians, which are still under investigation.

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