Military probes soldier for shooting at Palestinian homes after rock attack

Footage shows conscript stopping vehicle in Huwara and opening fire after a car he was traveling in was hit by stone throwers and damaged

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

An Israeli soldier is seen firing at Palestinian homes in the West Bank town of Huwara, October 14, 2022. (Screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
An Israeli soldier is seen firing at Palestinian homes in the West Bank town of Huwara, October 14, 2022. (Screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday it had opened a Military Police investigation into a soldier who was caught on camera firing at Palestinian homes in a northern West Bank town.

In footage published online from the incident that took place Friday, the soldier can be seen exiting his car on a highway that traverses through Huwara, close to Nablus.

He is then seen firing with an assault rifle toward a home where the surveillance camera is located, before facing the other way and reportedly opening fire at more homes.

According to IDF, the soldier came under a stone-throwing attack while en route from his home to his base, the military’s Samaria Regional Brigade headquarters, located nearby.

The military published images of the damaged car, which included a large stone seen inside the car. In the security camera footage, a stone can be seen sliding across the ground near the vehicle as it comes to a stop.

“The shooting carried out by the soldier will be examined as part of a Military Police investigation,” the IDF said, adding that the findings would be presented to the Military Prosecutor for review.

The Haaretz daily, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported that the IDF views his conduct with severity.

In recent weeks the Huwara area has seen Palestinians hurling stones at Israeli vehicles driving through the area, leading settlers to attack Palestinian civilians, homes and storefronts in response.

Huwara has long been a flashpoint in the West Bank, as it is just about the only Palestinian town through which Israelis regularly travel in order to reach settlements in the northern West Bank.

A soldier’s car is seen damaged following a stone-throwing attack in the Huwara area in the northern West Bank, October 14, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

On Thursday, reports in Palestinian media said settlers set fire to a cafe and several trucks in the Huwara area. Several Palestinians were reportedly hurt in the clash after being beaten by settlers.

Footage has also shown Israeli soldiers standing alongside settlers as they attacked Palestinians in Huwara.

A Palestinian man throws a stone at Israeli settlers and an Israeli soldier during clashes in Huwara, near the West Bank city of Nablus, October 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

In a message to residents, the nearby settlement of Har Bracha condemned the recent attacks by the settlers.

“As a result of a riot by several dozen Jewish rioters in Huwara, there was a flare-up in the village and many stone-throwings. Their rioting worsens the very complex situation we are in, and makes driving on the road unbearable,” the message read.

It added that it has asked law enforcement to “deal with this violent gang.”

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