No injuries as bomb explodes near troops in West Bank

Forces search area south of Bethlehem for suspects who planted IED

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers during search patrols in the West Bank, June 16, 2014. (IDF Spokesperson/FLASH90
Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers during search patrols in the West Bank, June 16, 2014. (IDF Spokesperson/FLASH90

An improvised explosive device was detonated next to an IDF patrol in the West Bank without any injuries, the army said Monday morning.

The bomb attack occurred as a patrol passed near the Palestinian town of al-Khader, outside of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank.

“No injuries have been reported,” an army spokesperson said. It was not clear if there was any damage to the patrol vehicle.

The IDF said forces were searching the area for suspects behind the blast.

In October, Israeli security forces at a checkpoint near to al-Khader arrested a Palestinian man caught transporting a stash of weapons that included three improvised firearms, two magazines, ammunition and bullets.

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The Shin Bet security services said recently October had seen a sharp 30 percent increase in attacks over September, following a spurt of violence after months of attacked had appeared to wane over the summer.

The Shin Bet recorded a total of 153 attacks in October, with nearly a third occurring in Jerusalem, compared to 109 attacks in September, according to the security agency’s monthly report, which it published on its website last week.

While rarer than rocks and Molotov cocktails, crude IEDs — usually pipe bombs — are occasionally used by Palestinians to target Israeli army patrols.

The Shin Bet said in July it had arrested three Palestinian dentists, a nurse and one other man for allegedly carrying out a pipe bomb attack that seriously injured an IDF officer at the entrance to the Palestinian village of Hizme the month before.

On the night of May 10 — just after the start of Israel’s Memorial Day — the Israeli patrol was struck by an improvised explosive device, composed of four pipe bombs, which was detonated by cell phone next to Lt. Shachar Roditi’s face, severely wounding him.

During their investigation, Israeli forces also uncovered 59 additional explosive devices that were allegedly created in order to carry out future attacks, the Shin Bet said.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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