Police officer lightly hurt in Jordan Valley shooting; Palestinian gunman killed

Officials say assailant carried out terror shooting at West Bank’s Argaman junction, later opened fire at troops conducting searches in area

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

Israeli soldiers at the scene of a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley, September 5, 2023. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers at the scene of a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley, September 5, 2023. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

A Border Police officer was lightly hurt during an exchange of fire with a Palestinian gunman who had attempted to carry out a terror shooting at a rest stop in the Jordan Valley on Tuesday afternoon, the military and police said.

According to a Border Police spokesman, members of the Matilan counterterrorism unit were conducting searches near the Argaman junction, close to the West Bank settlement of the same name, in the northern Jordan Valley, when they came under fire.

The Palestinian gunman was shot dead, and one officer was lightly hurt in the exchange.

The Israel Defense Forces said the forces had been searching for a Palestinian gunman involved in a terror shooting attack at the same junction several hours earlier.

Initially, the IDF suspected the first attack was related to a criminal dispute between the gunman and a Palestinian who worked at a rest stop at the junction.

In the first shooting, the gunman had opened fire three times — twice in the air and once at a shipping container — before his gun apparently jammed. He then fled the scene, prompting the military’s searches.

This handout image shows a handgun used by a Palestinian assailant who attacked Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley, September 5, 2023. (Israel Police)

No injuries were caused in the first attack.

The military said that during the searches for the gunman, Matilan officers came under fire and killed the assailant.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry named the assailant as 17-year-old Muhammad Zubaidat from Jericho.

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.

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, 180 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during the same period — the vast majority of them 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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