Israeli parents, baby escape unscathed as West Bank terrorist opens fire on car

Palestinian gunman flees, is shot dead by troops hours later; video shows moment he started shooting at family driving on Route 60 highway in flashpoint Huwara

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

Dashcam footage shows a Palestinian terrorist opening fire at close range at an Israeli car in the West Bank town of Huwara, October 5, 2023. (Courtesy)
Dashcam footage shows a Palestinian terrorist opening fire at close range at an Israeli car in the West Bank town of Huwara, October 5, 2023. (Courtesy)

A Palestinian gunman opened fire at an Israeli family driving through the West Bank town of Huwara on Thursday afternoon, causing no injuries, the military and medics said. The suspected assailant, who fled the scene, was shot dead by troops several hours later.

The family, identified by the Magen David Adom ambulance service as a man and a woman aged 25 and their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, were driving on a jammed road through the Palestinian town when a man approached with a gun, firing at the car several times as it sped away, footage showed.

The Israel Defense Forces said it found several bullet holes on the car and a number of shell casings in the area. One of the car’s windows was shattered, images showed.

The family did not suffer any injuries, but one person was being treated for acute anxiety, MDA said.

“IDF soldiers are setting up roadblocks in the area, and have begun a pursuit after the terrorist,” the military said in a statement shortly after the attack.

Several hours later, the IDF said troops of the elite Haruv unit shot the suspected gunman in the area, during a new exchange of fire. The gunman was killed, and the handgun used in the attack was recovered by the forces.

Dashcam footage showed the moment of the terror attack, which occurred on Route 60, a major artery used by both Israelis and Palestinians. As the gunman approaches, the car drives over a median into the opposite lane to get away. The gunman jogs after the car while appearing to continue firing.

Yiska Shteiner, who was in the car during the attack, said she was returning to Jerusalem after going on a trip with her family to the illegal Giv’ot Olam outpost.

“In the middle of Huwara… we heard a loud boom. They shot at us in the back window. My husband moved to the other lane, and drove in the opposite direction,” she told the TPS news agency.

Yiska Shteiner speaks to a TPS news agency after she and her family were attacked by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank town of Huwara, October 5, 2023. (Screenshot: X)

She said her young daughter was sitting on the left side of the car, while the gunfire appeared to target the right side and back of the car.

“We almost took hitchhikers, in the end, they didn’t want to get on… Thank God we escaped unscathed, my daughter is still sleeping in the car,” she said.

Huwara has long been a flashpoint in the West Bank, due to a main thoroughfare running through the town that is used regularly by Israelis to travel to and from settlements. There are plans to build a bypass road for settlers to avoid having to travel through the town, but work on this has dragged on for years.

There have been several shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the town this year, including the killing of two brothers in February, and a father and son in August.

Shteiner insisted the attack would not keep them from traveling on the road in the future, but called for increased protection for Israelis.

We will continue to travel here, we come here a lot and we will not give up. We need security,” she added.

Israeli security forces deploy in Huwara on February 26, 2023 following the deaths of two Israelis in a shooting attack. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

On Wednesday, the IDF temporarily closed off the Route 60 highway in Huwara for Palestinian motorists, following several incidents of stone-throwing toward Israelis.

The IDF said in a statement that it closed the highway to allow security forces to position themselves in Huwara “for the sake of maintaining the security of the residents and preventing friction” between Israelis and Palestinians.

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 revenge attacks by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

Earlier Thursday, two Hamas terrorists were killed by Israeli troops after opening fire at an Israeli motorist near the settlement of Avnei Hefetz. That incident came hours after five Border Police officers were wounded, including three seriously, during clashes with Palestinian gunmen in the nearby West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank since the beginning of the year have left 27 civilians and three soldiers dead, and several others seriously wounded.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 193 West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians have been killed during the same period — the majority 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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