Violence rocked the West Bank in the aftermath of the drive-by shooting that injured three Israeli teenagers at the Tapuah junction, as soldiers searched for the Palestinian attacker but found only his torched and bullet ridden vehicle near Nablus in the village of Akraba.
According to initial IDF estimates presented to Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi on Monday, the shooting was the result of a lone-wolf attack, carried out by one Palestinian in a vehicle that stopped briefly by a busy bus stop and hitchhiking post on Route 60.
The attacker fired 10 bullets towards the bus stop where the teens stood before fleeing the scene. Three Givati soldiers fired seven bullets toward the car, hitting it but not the attacker, who fled the scene in the vehicle.
Two of the three 19-year-old victims of the attack remain hospitalized at The Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, while the third, Amichai Hala from Safed, was released.
On Monday, Yehuda Guetta, a Jerusalem resident, was still listed in critical condition with a head wound and Benaya Peretz from Beit She’an remained in very serious condition with a back wound. All three are students at the Itamar Yeshiva.
The IDF beefed up its forces in the West Bank and, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, Israeli security forces arrested at least 20 Palestinians in the aftermath of the attack, including several in east Jerusalem.
Violence broke out in Akraba when soldiers searched the village, arresting a Palestinian who threw a Molotov cocktails at them. While in the village, they found the burnt-out remnants of the silver Hyundai believed to have been used in the attack. This followed violent clashes that involved Molotov cocktails, stone throwing and IDF live fire during a manhunt in the Palestinian town of Beita late Sunday night.
SEPARATELY, according to a report from the left-wing NGO Yesh Din, Jewish extremists, presumed to be settlers, attacked the Palestinian village of Jalud.
Yesh Din alleged that the Jewish extremists threw stones at Palestinians and their homes in Jalud, vandalized vehicles and chased a four-year-old Palestinian boy who was in the yard of his home. They also set fire to the fields around the village, which were only extinguished in the morning.
“According to testimonies, Palestinians called military forces for help but when they arrived, they fired tear gas and rubber bullets at residents’ homes and towards the Palestinians present,” Yesh Din said. Four Jalud residents were injured, according to the local village council.
The IDF said it responded to reports of friction between settlers and Palestinians near Jalud. It confirmed that both groups had thrown stones at each other and that fires had been set in several areas.
Ten of the Palestinians arrested overnight were connected to the violence in Jalud, according to WAFA.
“Last night, we witnessed a revenge pogrom by violent settlers that was made possible only because the apartheid regime encouraged it,” Yesh Din executive director Lior Amihai said. “
Instead of stopping the Israeli rioters and providing protection to the Palestinians, the army uses the settlers’ violence as a militia whose goal is to inflict constant terror on the Palestinians and take over their lands,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Kohavi visited the bus stop and hitch-hiking post where the attack took place and held a situational assessment with senior officers.
The IDF chief was accompanied by the Head of Central Command Maj.-Gen. Tamir Yadai and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj.-Gen. Rassan Aliyan. He held a situational assessment with Judea and Samaria Division head Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Aluf where he assessed the deployment of additional forces in the area in light of recent events.
“The IDF will increase its forces and expand its operational activities in the coming weeks in Judea and Samaria as part of its readiness for escalation,” Kohavi said at the end of the visit. “Many forces, with the help of intelligence officials and the Shin Bet [Israel Security Service] have been working since yesterday to find the terrorists, and will continue to do so until the mission is completed.”
“The IDF will continue to act as required in all sectors in order to ensure the security of Israeli citizens,” Kohavi vowed during his visit on Monday.