ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Troops fire at Israeli man who allegedly ran West Bank checkpoint after Huwara attack

Military says driver tried to bypass soldiers securing Tapuah Junction, blocked for all traffic after drive-by shooting; motorist claims he identified as Israeli

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

An Israeli soldier stands guard in the West Bank town of Huwara, early March 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative: An Israeli soldier stands guard in the West Bank town of Huwara, early March 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Troops opened fire at an Israeli man’s car after he allegedly ran a checkpoint in the West Bank on Saturday night, as forces were searching for a Palestinian gunman who had wounded two soldiers earlier.

The Israel Defense Forces said that following the shooting attack in the West Bank town of Huwara, south of Nablus, roads in the area had been closed.

An Israeli man who had arrived at Tapuah Junction — which was blocked for all traffic — was stopped by troops to be questioned. The IDF said the car continued driving without permission and attempted to bypass the checkpoint.

In response, soldiers opened fire at the vehicle, hitting one of the tires.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, the man told the soldiers he was Israeli and was attempting to reach the settlement of Yitzhar, and that his 10-year-old son was in the backseat. The driver said the soldiers fired five times at him.

There were no injuries in the incident. The IDF said it would further investigate the troops’ shooting.

Shortly before the incident, two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a drive-by shooting attack in Huwara.

According to the IDF, the two soldiers were hit by gunfire while securing the Route 60 highway in the town.

The pair were initially listed in serious and moderate condition. On Sunday morning, Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah said both soldiers were in moderate and stable condition and were not suffering any life-threatening injuries.

The suspected attacker fled the scene by car. Amid a manhunt for the gunman, the IDF closed several roads in the area. Palestinians entering and exiting Nablus were being questioned, the IDF said.

It was the third shooting attack to occur in Huwara in recent weeks.

Israeli soldiers are deployed at the scene where a Palestinian gunman opened fire at soldiers in the West Bank town of Huwara, March 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Last Sunday, an Israeli man was shot and badly wounded in a terror attack while driving through Huwara. That attack came exactly three weeks after two Israeli brothers were shot dead in a terror attack while driving through Huwara.

David Stern, who was wounded in the March 19 attack, has since mostly recovered.

In the wake of the February 26 attack, settlers staged a riot in the town, setting fire to homes and cars. One Palestinian was shot dead in unclear circumstances.

Huwara has long been a flashpoint in the West Bank as it is just about the only Palestinian town that Israelis regularly travel through in order to reach settlements.

There are plans to build a bypass road for settlers to avoid having to travel through Huwara, but the construction work has been stalled.

Israeli soldiers are deployed at the scene where a Palestinian gunman opened fire at soldiers in the West Bank town of Hawara, March 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks. Those tensions have ramped up even further in recent weeks, which saw a cycle of deadly Israeli raids and Palestinian attacks, as well as an uptick in settler violence.

Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 Israelis dead and several more seriously hurt.

At least 86 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

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