Three Israelis wounded in Palestinian attack, gunman arrested

Israeli forces raided Bethlehem and arrested the suspected gunman and two others after a shooting attack near a checkpoint.

Israeli soldiers block the road leading to the occupied West Bank town of Janatah south of Bethlehem
Israeli soldiers block the road leading to the occupied West Bank town of Janatah, south of Bethlehem, after a reported shooting attack [Hazem Bader/AFP]

A Palestinian gunman opened fire on a car in the occupied West Bank, wounding three Israelis, including two girls, Israeli authorities said. The suspect fled the scene of the shooting, but he was later captured.

In a statement, the army said the car came under fire from a vehicle close to the Tekoa checkpoint, near the city of Bethlehem on Sunday.

According to Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue service, a 35-year-old man wounded in the shooting was in serious but stable condition. His daughters, aged 9 and 14, were lightly wounded by flying debris. The family lives in the occupied West Bank settlement of Nokdim, according to Israeli media reports.

Israeli forces raided Bethlehem and apprehended the suspected gunman and two other suspects. They also seized the suspected gunman’s car, which contained an M16 assault rifle in it.

At least 15 Palestinians were injured in the raid, local media reported. Haitham Al-Hadri, director of Beit Jala Governmental Hospital, told local news agency Maan that the wounded who arrived at the hospital all had minor injuries.

Several Palestinian political factions said the shooting represents “the natural response to the [Israeli] occupation’s crimes and an affirmation of the continuation of the confrontation”.

In a press release, the Popular Resistance Committees said the attack was a natural Palestinian response to the  “crimes of the Zionist enemy against our people, our land, and our sanctities”.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right government have promised there will be no let-up in settlement construction.

Tensions have soared across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid near-nightly Israeli raids into Palestinian towns, sparking the worst fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank in nearly two decades.

Nearly 195 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the start of this year, according to the Palestinian health ministry. At least 27 Israelis have been killed in separate attacks during the same period.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies