Israeli man lightly hurt, car torched, after he mistakenly enters Palestinian town

IDF rescues civilian who was attacked in West Bank’s Turmus Ayya; mayor says some locals protected him until army showed up

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A car belonging to an Israeli who mistakenly entered the Palestinian West Bank town of Turmus Ayya goes up in flames on August 20, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A car belonging to an Israeli who mistakenly entered the Palestinian West Bank town of Turmus Ayya goes up in flames on August 20, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An Israeli man was attacked and lightly hurt by Palestinians after mistakenly entering the West Bank town of Turmus Ayya on Sunday night, the military said.

The man’s car was set on fire after entering the town, footage posted by Palestinian media outlets showed. The military said Palestinians also hurled stones at the man.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops arrived at the scene, entered the town, and extracted the man.

“As the forces and the civilian left the town, a riot developed, during which several suspects threw a burning object and threw stones,” the IDF said, adding that no soldiers were hurt.

Turmus Ayya Mayor Lafi Adeeb told the Kan public broadcaster that the Israeli man did not enter through the town’s main entrance, but through a side route, raising suspicions among residents.

Adeeb said a group of youths attacked the man and set fire to his car. Shortly after, other locals arrived and protected him, before the army arrived, he told Kan.

The Rescuers Without Borders emergency service said the man was treated for a minor wound to his hand as a result of a stone being hurled at him during the attack.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed that Israeli security forces would capture the assailants.

“The IDF soldiers who rescued the civilian who was attacked in the town of Turmus Ayya have my full appreciation. We will pursue and catch the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” he said on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

Turmus Ayya is located within Area B of the West Bank, under Israeli military control. It is not illegal for Israelis to enter Palestinian towns in Area B (or Area C under full Israeli military and civil control), but is heavily discouraged by the military.

The incident came a day after a Palestinian terrorist killed two Israeli men, a father and his son, while they were carrying out personal errands in the northern West Bank town of Huwara, also located within Area B.

Shay Silas Nigreker, 60, and his 28-year-old son Aviad Nir were shot to death at a carwash.

Israeli security forces secure the scene of a shooting attack in Huwara, in the West Bank, near Nablus, August 19, 2023. (Flash90)

Some goods and services are cheaper in the West Bank than in Israel, drawing customers across the border despite the security risk. The attack occurred as the pair were standing by their car while it was being washed after it was repaired.

Violence has surged across the West Bank over the past year and a half, with a rise in Palestinian shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and troops, near-nightly arrest raids by the military, and an uptick in attacks by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 28 people dead and several others seriously wounded since the beginning of the year, including in Saturday’s shooting.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 173 West Bank Palestinians have also been killed during the same period — most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances, including by armed Israeli settlers.

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