Ambulances gather after six injured in a shooting by Ofra, near Jerusalem..
(photo credit: MDA)
Soldiers combed the West Bank for the Palestinian cell that carried out Sunday’s terror attack outside Ofra, while doctors in Jerusalem desperately tried to save the life of a baby born prematurely as a result of the drive-by shooting.
Six injured in shooting attack near Ofra, north of Jerusalem
The baby’s young parents, Shira and Amichai Ish-ran, were among seven people injured as they stood at a bus stop and hitchhiking post on the major West Bank Route 60 artery, on the last night of the Hanukkah holiday.
Palestinians in a white car quickly passed by the bus stop and sprayed it with bullets, then sped away as soldiers shot at their vehicle but failed to halt its flight.
Shira, 21, underwent emergency surgery and was still in the critical care unit of Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Monday night, while Amichai was recovering from gun shot wounds in his legs. Four teenagers at the scene were lightly injured, and a fifth person, age 22, was moderately wounded.
Right wing politicians and settlers called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to improve security in the West Bank.
Netanyahu and the United States called on the Palestinian Authority to condemn the terror attack.
“Of course, there is no reason to expect a condemnation from the Palestinian Authority,” Netanyahu said. “They only contribute to the incitement here.”
He called the attack a “monstrous thing,” adding: “We are all praying for the well-being of the injured in last night’s terrorist attack in Ofra. We support the doctors who are fighting for the baby’s life.”
In Shaare Zedek, two friends – Chen Antebi and Meirav Sherbit, who underwent treatment for light injuries – recalled for reporters the moment of the attack, when they stood chatting at the bust stop after attending a Hanukkah event in Ofra.
Antebi said she initially thought the shots were fireworks from the event. The teenagers said that everyone immediately hit the floor and tried to crawl to safety. The air was filled with the sounds of screams and ambulances, the two teens recalled.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Sherbit said. “I saw that Chen got on the floor, so I did too. We crawled behind a stone monument [of a man who had been murdered there], and hid until rescue forces came.”
Hilik Navon, who witnessed the attack and recalled hearing some 12 to 15 shots, said “I was 50 meters away and we heard a crack. There was no continuous shooting.”
Following the attack, IDF troops and border police quickly set up roadblocks and checkpoints on roads leading to nearby Palestinian villages.
According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, IDF troops raided the nearby Palestinian village of Silwad and Ein Yabrud in search of the terrorists.
Clashes broke out in Silwad as residents threw rocks and other objects at troops who fired tear gas and other riot-dispersal means. In Ein Yabrud, the IDF confiscated security cameras.
“Following the shooting attack yesterday adjacent to the Ofra Junction, IDF, Border Police and security forces commenced extensive searches in the villages in the area as part of the hunt for the terrorists who committed the attack,” the army said. “At the same time, the IDF’s intelligence efforts continue. The IDF will continue to act to apprehend the terrorists until the security of civilians is restored.”
But by nightfall Monday night, it had failed to apprehend the shooters.
IDF troops later raided Wafa’s offices in Ramallah, seizing video tapes of the surveillance cameras that were in the news agency’s receiving room. According to a report by the agency following the raid, IDF troops “fired tear gas inside the building causing suffocation and difficulty in breathing among journalists who were inside the building.”
While the attack was not claimed by any group, Hamas praised it saying that it “was in response to ongoing attacks carried out against our people. Despite all the attempts to uproot the resistance to the occupation, the action indicates that resistance in the West Bank is still alive and beating.”
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