A Kiryat Arba man narrowly escaped death Thursday afternoon after Palestinian men dressed as shepherds blocked his car near Hebron, and one of them stuck a gun to his head.
The driver, Ami Derya, suffered a bullet wound to his arm when he grabbed at the gun at the last second, Ephraim Goldman, a spokesperson for the Judea and Samaria Rescue Service (JSRS), said. Derya then sped away in his vehicle and the attackers fled.
Elsewhere, Israeli forces shot and killed three Palestinians - including a PA policeman - during gunfights in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian security and medical officials said. The IDF said a reserve soldier was moderately wounded during counter-terror operations in the area.
In the Hebron incident, a crew of JSRS volunteers rushed to the vicinity after the victim - reportedly in his 40s - called their station in Kiryat Arba.
According to Benny Tene, a Magen David Adom driver, Derya was unsure of his precise whereabouts, and the JSRS team drove on the Trans-Judea (Highway 35) until they found his car at an intersection near the settlement of Telem.
A border policeman who happened upon him had already administered first aid. Derya, Tene said, was bleeding profusely but alert. "He talked to his friends and family en route to Hadassah (Hadassah-University) Medical Center at Ein Kerem) and he also explained to the security forces what happened to the best of his ability."
Police and IDF personnel searched the area, but the attackers had not been located at press time.
Shortly before the attack, a woman reported a similar incident to local security forces, saying that a group of Palestinian shepherds had tried to block her way at the same spot.
In the Gaza clashes, an IDF spokesman confirmed that ground forces penetrated one kilometer into the Strip early Thursday morning and set up a temporary post as part of ongoing counter-terror operations in the area.
Palestinian gunmen spotted and then opened fire on the soldiers, who returned fire and identified hits on five enemy fighters, the spokesman said. A reservist was shot in the leg during the exchange.
An army vehicle evacuated him under fire to the border where he was airlifted to Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center. Medical officials there said the soldier's condition had improved from moderate to lightly wounded.
Soon after the initial gunbattle, Palestinians fired two anti-tank missiles at troops in the same area, the IDF said.
According to Palestinian sources, Lami Abu Lahia, 27, a Palestinian policeman, was shot and killed during the IDF incursion near Abbassin. The dead policeman was a member of the National Security Force, loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, a spokesman said.
Although the force does not normally battle Israeli troops, it appeared the policeman did not identify the armed individuals he saw as soldiers, the spokesman said. The Palestinians later reported a teenager was killed by troops in the same area.
Near Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, an unarmed Palestinian farmer was shot by soldiers while working his fields, PA officials said. The IDF said it was checking that report. Beit Hanoun, in the northwestern corner of the Gaza Strip, has been used by Gaza terrorists to launch Kassams at border communities such as Sderot.
IDF sources said that later in the evening troops shot a man who approached the security fence near Abbassin. The source said three Palestinians were spotted approaching the fence. Troops warned them to stop before finally shooting one man in the lower body. The wounded man's condition was unclear.
In overnight arrest raids in the West Bank, security forces captured 21 Palestinian fugitives, according to military sources.
In Nablus troops arrested four Fatah terrorists, one from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and a Hamas operative. In the home of one of the fugitives, troops uncovered a cache of weapons, including a rifle and several knives.
In Tulkarm, two Islamic Jihad members and a terrorist from the Tanzim were nabbed, the IDF said. In the area of Ramallah, four men, including a Hamas and a Tanzim operative, were captured in operations.
AP contributed to this report.
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