Palestinians torch vehicle used in shooting attack as IDF arrives to seize it

Clashes break out between Palestinians and soldiers who converge on West Bank village of Aqraba to seize grey van

The vehicle (right) suspected of being used in a drive-by shooting attack is found in the village of Aqraba in the northern West Bank on May 3, 2021. (Social media)
The vehicle (right) suspected of being used in a drive-by shooting attack is found in the village of Aqraba in the northern West Bank on May 3, 2021. (Social media)

The vehicle that is believed to have been used in a drive-by shooting attack at a northern West Bank junction leaving three Israelis wounded was found outside a nearby Palestinian village on Monday.

Photos of the car began circulating on Palestinian social media showing that it was hit by at least two bullets, one of which shattered the back windshield and the other hit the trunk door. That matched the claims by soldiers at the scene, who said they returned fire at the vehicle after the driver shot and gravely wounded two Israeli teenagers, and a third lightly.

Shortly after the spotting of the vehicle outside the town of Aqraba, Israel Defense Forces troops arrived at the scene in order to confiscate the evidence. Clashes subsequently broke out between the soldiers and Palestinian locals, who managed to set the van alight before it was seized by the troops.

Channel 12 reported that the security establishment believes the grey Hyundai belongs to a Hamas member who lives in Aqraba and that forces will be able to track down the suspect in the coming day.

The military and Shin Bet security service, meanwhile, were continuing their search efforts on Monday for the terrorists who committed the shooting attack on Sunday evening at Tapuah Junction.

The IDF had initially said that it was believed there was only one assailant behind the attack, but on Monday said they were looking for more than one suspect.

According to Beilinson Hospital, where the three were taken, one of the victims, Yehuda Guetta, 19, from Jerusalem, remained in critical condition as of Monday morning, with a head wound, and doctors fearing for his life.

Benaya Peretz, 19, from Beit She’an, who was shot in the back, remained in very serious condition. The third victim, Amichai Hala from Safed, also 19, was released from the hospital to recover from his wounds at home.

The attack came amid heightened tensions in the West Bank after the Palestinian Authority announced it was indefinitely delaying elections planned for later this month, blaming the decision on ostensible Israeli refusal to allow PA voting in East Jerusalem.

The IDF also bolstered its forces in the West Bank for the month of Ramadan, a period that regularly sees an uptick in violence.

Sunday’s shooting was followed by several apparent retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers, including the storming of a Palestinian village in the predawn hours of Monday morning, where they threw rocks and stun grenades, and started fires.

Clashes broke out between the residents of Jaloud village and the Israelis from the nearby Shiloh settlement, whereupon the Israel Defense Forces and Border Police attempted to break up the fighting by firing rubber-coated bullets and other riot dispersal weapons — though only at the Palestinians, injuring four of them in the process.

Eleven Palestinian residents of the village were arrested by the IDF. No settlers were arrested, even though several police vehicles’ tires were punctured by the Israelis.

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