Woman injured in West Bank shooting attack; IDF searching for terrorists

Six-week-old baby in car unharmed, woman in stable condition; husband, reservist soldier on leave, fires back at attacker; separately, Palestinians say four killed by IDF in raid

An Israeli vehicle in which a woman was wounded after coming under fire in a West Bank terror attack on December 18, 2023 (Binyamin council)
An Israeli vehicle in which a woman was wounded after coming under fire in a West Bank terror attack on December 18, 2023 (Binyamin council)

A 27-year-old woman was moderately injured in a shooting attack on Monday morning near the Palestinian city of Rawabi and the Israeli settlement of Ateret in the central West Bank.

In the attack, Palestinian terrorists fired at least six bullets at two Israeli vehicles, a preliminary investigation into the incident showed. The woman, named in media as Mevaseret Cohen, was determined to be in stable condition by Magen David Adom medics at the scene and was transferred to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for further treatment.

Her husband and the couple’s six-week-old baby were in the car with her at the time of the attack, but both were unharmed. The husband, Yishai Cohen, is a reservist soldier who was on leave from fighting in the Gaza Strip and used his weapon to fire back at the terrorists, forcing them to break off the attack.

Yishai told media at the hospital that their car became caught in a traffic jam due to a slow-moving truck. After the terrorists opened fire from a passing car, they stopped and a gunman got out, approaching their vehicle on foot.

At that point, Cohen returned fire from the driver’s seat.

“My wife was covered in blood,” he said, according to the Ynet outlet.

Cohen said he wanted to exit the car to better fire at the terrorists “but it was more important to protect the life of my baby in the car.”

Mevaseret Cohen’s mother, Tamar Amar, told media at the hospital that the baby boy was born while his father was serving in Gaza. Her own son, an officer in the elite Maglan commando unit, was injured on the first day of the war in October but has since returned to the front.

Yishai Cohen, holds his six-week-old baby son after surviving a drive-by shooting terror attack in the West Bank, December 18, 2023. (Binyamin security; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Amar lamented that the security situation in the West Bank “is exactly what they are doing to us in Gaza,” referring to the spike in violence in the region.

The IDF said that it was conducting a manhunt for the gunmen, who fled the scene of the shooting.

In a statement, it said that forces “have launched a pursuit after the terrorists and are placing roadblocks in the area.”

Also on Monday, reservist forces, including troops of the elite Duvdevan unit, carried out an arrest operation in the al-Faraa refugee camp near Nablus in the northern West Bank.

Smoke rises during an Israeli military raid in the Al-Farah refugee camp, northeast of Nablus, in the West Bank, December 18, 2023. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

During the operation in al-Faraa, the IDF said that troops returned fire at Palestinian gunmen shooting at them and others hurling explosive devices. The Palestinian Authority health ministry said four people were killed by IDF fire in the clashes.

During the operation, a makeshift submachine gun was found in the possession of a wanted person, the IDF said.

In the village of Kafr Aqab, two people were arrested by the IDF amid an exchange of gunfire. The IDF said that during the arrest, gunmen fired at the troops and threw stones and explosives. Troops returned fire, the IDF added.

In Jericho, the IDF said that troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen who threw Molotov cocktails at soldiers. The military said that troops returned fire and that one of the gunmen was shot during the exchange but made no mention of his condition.

Over the past day, IDF reservists confiscated over 50 illegally acquired vehicles across the West Bank, 40 of which were located in the village of Beit Awwa.

The IDF said that the wanted persons had been transferred for further investigation and that no injuries were sustained by the troops.

Since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, which began with the terror group’s October 7 onslaught in southern Israel in which 1,200 people were massacred, IDF troops operating across the West Bank have arrested some 2,400 people, of whom around 1,200 are affiliated with the Gaza terror organization.

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, some 280 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 7.

Based on military estimates, the vast majority were shot dead during clashes amid arrest raids, and many of them, according to data seen by The Times of Israel, were armed with either a firearm or an explosive device.

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