IDF soldier at West Bank checkpoint at Gush Etzion Junction..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Three IDF soldiers were wounded in a suspected car-ramming attack at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank south of Jerusalem, the IDF confirmed on Monday.
The military said the troops were hit while they were engaged in construction work on a road between Beit Umar and El-Aroub.
Magen David Adom paramedics said two people were lightly injured and evacuated to a nearby hospital. The third, who was moderately injured with a reported head injury, was taken via ambulance to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center. His condition was later downgraded to light.
The driver, identified by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society as Ramzi Abu Yabes from the Dheisheh Refugee Camp, died at the scene after being shot by an IDF reservist on duty.
According to Palestinian Maan News Agency, Yabes was on his way to work as a nurse at the Arab Rehabilitation Association in Bethlehem along with his wife, Manal, who was also injured.
Following the attack, the commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig.-Gen. Eran Niv, assessed the scene along with Col. David Shapira, the commander of the Etzion Regional Brigade.
Shlomo Ne’eman, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, called on the government to restore security to residents of the region following Monday’s attack, which came on the heels of several recent stabbing attacks.
“We are on the main road, Route 60, where thousands of Jews travel every day, and this is a very serious terrorist attack that has added to a series of attacks against Israelis,” he said.”We demand that the government and the security forces restore peace and security to the residents of the area, and of course, strengthen the hands of IDF soldiers who are working here day and night for the security of the residents and the security of the region.”
Since October 2015, Palestinians have stabbed, run over and shot Israeli soldiers and civilians, including some tourists, in waves of violence in the West Bank and throughout Israel. While the violence has decreased since its peak in the winter of 2016, when there were almost daily attacks, they remain a significant threat.
Four policemen were lightly wounded almost two weeks ago
, after a Palestinian entered the station in Armon HaNetziv in east Jerusalem. Another officer was wounded while firing at the assailant. A week earlier a Palestinian woman tried to stab a Border Police officer with a pair of scissors at a gas station in Kfar Adumim, and a day prior a Palestinian man was shot by an IDF officer near the settlement of Kiryat Arba after he tried to stab Israeli civilians and an officer.
Two months ago, Israeli-American Ari Fuld, was killed in a stabbing attack at the entrance to a mall near the junction by 17-year-old Khalil Jabarin from the West Bank village of Yatta near Hebron. Fuld shot and moderately wounded Jabarin before succumbing to his wounds.
The military believes the overall atmosphere in the West Bank is tense. In early November, Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman warned that the relative quiet in the West Bank was “deceptive” and that Israel had thwarted close to 500 attacks.
“In the past year we have managed to thwart 480 attacks
, arrested 219 Hamas cells and thwarted 560 attempts by lone terrorists. We also succeeded in thwarting cyberattacks and espionage against Israel,” he said during a security assessment in front of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
According to Argaman, Hamas is trying to carry out terrorist attacks with guidance from Gaza, Turkey and Lebanon.
“In the West Bank, the reality is very complex. We can discern a relative calm, but this quiet is deceptive. Underneath the surface the area is bubbling. Hamas is trying with all its might to carry out attacks,” he said, adding, “The reality in the West Bank in which Israeli citizens are able to live their lives is the result of the very strenuous activity of the entire Israeli security establishment.”
Last Thursday the Shin Bet announced that it had stopped a Hamas cell operating out of the Hebron area that was planning significant attacks against civilian targets inside Israel.
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