Israeli soldiers wounded in bus shooting in occupied West Bank

Israeli soldiers check damage in a bus, at the scene of a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank 4 September 2022 (Reuters)

Al-Jazeera  /  September 4, 2022

The incident took place just days after the Israeli army killed two Palestinians during raids in the occupied West Bank.

At least six Israeli soldiers and a driver have been wounded in a shooting on a bus in the occupied West Bank, military authorities and medics said on Sunday.

The incident, in which Israeli authorities said two suspected gunmen were detained as they tried to escape, took place within driving distance of Jenin and Nablus. These two Palestinian cities that have seen months of intensive and deadly Israeli military raids.

Witnesses said Palestinians in a car overtook the bus, spraying it with bullets and, when it came to a halt, tried to torch it. Israeli TV aired footage of a car ablaze after, it said, a fire bomb went off inside.

There was no immediate Palestinian claim of responsibility though.

A spokesman for Hamas praised the attack as “proof that all attempts by the occupation (Israel) to stop the escalating resistance operations in the West Bank have failed”.

The road, where the incident occurred, is dotted with Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages and towns.

Israel occupies the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and has built more than 200 settlements housed with more than half a million settlers.

Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands are considered illegal under international law. The settler expansion is also an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, who seek the territory to be part of their future state.

Shooting spree

Matti Carmi, from the Magen David Adom emergency medical services, said “two gunshots victims” were treated outside the bus. The two were conscious and were airlifted to hospital in the Israeli coastal city of Haifa.

Three others were hit with glass fragments and subsequently transferred by road to another hospital in northern Israel, MDA said.

A photograph published by a union representing bus drivers showed the vehicle’s windscreen peppered with bullet holes.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Israeli forces “immediately went in pursuit and got their hands on suspects in the attack”.

Sunday’s incident follows a shooting spree last month on an Israeli bus in occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and subsequently annexed, in a step never recognized by the international community.

Eight people, including several American citizens, were wounded in that pre-dawn attack near the Old City of Jerusalem.

Following an hours-long manhunt, police said a suspect had handed himself in.

The incident comes just days after the Israeli army killed two Palestinian men during two separate raids in the West Bank – one in al-Ain refugee camp in Nablus and the other in Umm al-Sharayet, a neighbourhood south of Ramallah and Al-Bireh.

Dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces for allegedly attempting to carry out stabbing or car-ramming attacks. Human rights groups accuse Israeli forces of deliberately killing Palestinians even though there is no risk to their lives.

SOURCE: AL-JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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West Bank: Shooting at Israeli soldiers’ bus leaves seven wounded

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  September 4, 2022

Two Palestinians have been arrested, Israeli army says, with a third suspect reportedly still on the run.

A shooting at an Israeli bus in the occupied West Bank on Sunday left at least six soldiers and one civilian driver wounded, according to the Israeli army.

The army arrested two Palestinians in connection with the incident, it said in a statement.

Israeli forces said armed men opened fire from a truck at the bus driving on a major highway in the northern part of the Jordan Valley, near the Israeli settlement of Hamra.

One soldier was seriously wounded with gunshot injuries and was transferred by helicopter to Rambam Hospital in Haifa for treatment. The other five soldiers and the civilian driver were lightly wounded, according to army officials and medics.

Two suspects were later arrested in connection with the incident after their vehicle caught fire while escaping. According to the army, the fire may have been caused by a mistakenly ignited Molotov cocktail, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. 

A third suspect reportedly managed to flee, and a manhunt has been launched to capture him. 

Footage from the scene showed the windscreen of the targeted bus pierced with multiple bullets.

A spokesperson of the Hamas movement, the de-facto ruler of the Gaza Strip, commended the shooting as a response to the “Zionist occupier and their settlers’ crimes and aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque and prisoners”.

The occupied West Bank has witnessed a rise in Palestinian armed attacks against Israeli targets this year.

Last month, unknown gunmen shot at an Israeli bus carrying settlers in Silwad, near Ramallah, but no casualties were reported. 

Tensions come as Israeli forces intensify near-daily raid-and-arrest operations in various parts of the West Bank, which often lead to the wounding or killing of Palestinians.

More than 140 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, including 49 killed in the Gaza Strip and more than 91 in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.