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Palestinian hurls Molotov cocktail toward Israeli soldier, who doesn’t respond

Video shows incident in northern West Bank; IDF said probing troops’ conduct after assailant allowed to escape

A Palestinian man hurled a Molotov cocktail at a soldier at a checkpoint in the northern West Bank Saturday evening, targeting him from close range but missing him.

A video of the incident shows the man emerge from a car at the checkpoint, located near the settlement of Kedumim. He approaches the soldier and speaks with him for several moments before pulling out the firebomb, lighting it and hurling it at the soldier, who dodges.

The man then runs away as the soldier watches, without responding to the attack.

“A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an IDF soldier near a military post in the area of the Kedumim settlement. IDF troops have launched a search for the suspect. In the event, there were no injuries or damage caused,” the military said in a statement.

The army said it was also investigating the conduct of the soldier, a member of the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance battalion, as well as other troops at the checkpoint, and viewed the incident gravely.

Hard-right lawmakers fumed after the video went public.

“This story is just insane,” Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich tweeted. “But it’s not the soldier’s fault. The judicial system in the State of Israel that behaves like in Sodom is to blame.”

He appeared to be referencing claims on the right that soldiers’ hands are often tied in responding to attacks as they fear possible indictment for their actions.

Jerusalem Minister Rafi Peretz of the Jewish Home party said the incident should have ended with a “neutralized terrorist.”

“Dead or alive,” he wrote on Twitter, saying IDF commanders must ensure such an incident “doesn’t repeat itself.”

Earlier this month a Palestinian was shot and injured after he refused to heed the calls of security guards at the Qalandiya checkpoint.  Police said the man was walking in a section of the checkpoint reserved for vehicles. When guards repeatedly called on him to stop and he did not comply, they shot him in the lower body.

That shooting came amid heightened tensions in the area, including violent clashes in a nearby refugee camp between Palestinian residents and Israeli troops. That same day, December 7, six Israeli border troops were hurt when residents of the Qalandiya refugee camp rioted and hurled cinderblocks and other heavy objects at officers from roofs during an early morning arrest raid. All six suffered light wounds. Some were hospitalized. The troops feared for their lives and opened fire on the protesters, the Border Police said.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said at least four Palestinians were injured, three of them seriously and one moderately, all allegedly from live fire.

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