IDF: Soldier hurt in shooting attack near Jerusalem; gunmen flee
Medics say 19-year-old serviceman taken to hospital in capital after gunfire at junction near Geva Binyamin settlement
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
An Israeli soldier was hurt in a shooting attack on Thursday night in the West Bank, just north of Jerusalem, the military and medics said.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at troops securing a highway near the Geva Binyamin junction, near the settlement of the same name.
One soldier was hit by the gunfire and the gunmen managed to flee the scene, the IDF said, adding that several shell casings were found in the area.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics treated the 19-year-old at the scene and took him to the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem in light-to-moderate condition.
The attack came as tensions rose across the region after a major rocket barrage from Lebanon, days of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as a suspected Iranian drone launched from Syria earlier in the week.
There have also been several attacks in the West Bank, with three soldiers hurt in a car-ramming attack on Saturday and another soldier hurt in a shooting attack on Wednesday.
Also during the past week, two soldiers were injured, one seriously, in a terror stabbing near the Tzrifin military base in central Israel.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which this year once again coincides with the Jewish festival of Passover, is known to be a period of high tensions between Israeli forces and Palestinians. Tens of thousands of worshipers visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque — Islam’s third holiest site — throughout the month, regularly leading to a spike in tensions with Israel and violence.
Last week, the IDF announced it would impose a closure on the West Bank, set to take effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with crossing points closed to Palestinians on the first and last days of the Passover holiday. Gaza border crossings will also close.
Such closures are standard practice during festivals and holidays. The military says they are a preventative measure against attacks in periods of increased tensions.
The closure will last until Saturday, April 8. A second closure will begin on April 11 and last until April 12.