Four Israelis wounded in series of shooting and stabbing attacks in West Bank over weekend

Soldier shot in Beit Anun; Two teenagers shot in Hebron; Man stabbed in Sha’ar Binyamin.

Palestinians hurl rocks at IDF soldiers during clashes in Ramallah (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinians hurl rocks at IDF soldiers during clashes in Ramallah
(photo credit: REUTERS)
On Friday evening, a 19-year-old IDF soldier was seriously wounded when a Palestinian gunman opened fire on him near Beit Anun, a few kilometers north of Hebron. He was admitted in serious condition to Hadassah- University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, suffering from gunshot wounds to his upper body.
Soldiers from the Kfir infantry brigade, acting on Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) intelligence, on Saturday evening arrested a 16-year-old resident of Bani Naim and handed him over to the Shin Bet for questioning.
He confessed to the shooting and disclosed the location of the rifle he used to carry out the attack, the Shin Bet said.
Also on Friday evening, two Israeli youths were shot and wounded – one of them, a 16-year-old, seriously – in a terrorist attack at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
The 16-year-old was admitted to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in serious condition with bullet wounds to his upper body and the second victim, 18, with a gunshot wound to his limbs.
Also on Friday, IDF soldiers at a gas station near Halhoul, north of Hebron, fired on and struck a Palestinian female motorist they suspected of attempting to run them over.
Video footage taken by a soldier, which was uploaded on the Internet, shows the woman’s car driving directly at the soldiers until they opened fire. Soldiers recovered a large commando knife from the woman’s handbag following the incident.
According to Palestinian reports, the attacker, Thereat al-Sha’rawi, was 72 years old. She died of her wounds at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
Palestinians officials in Hebron dismissed IDF charges that she had tried to run down soldiers. A witness who works at the gas station described the incident as a “regular car accident.”
The witness, who was not identified, told Palestinian reporters that Sha’rawi was driving her car in an area where clashes were taking place between IDF soldiers and stone-throwers. He claimed that the woman tried to escape from the scene because of the tear gas fired by the soldiers.
“She drove toward the gas station, where the soldiers were stationed,” he recounted. “As soon as she got out of her car, the soldiers opened fire at her, killing her instantly. I saw three soldiers open fire at her.”
Sha’arawi’s husband, Fuad, was killed during the first intifada, according to Palestinian sources. They said the IDF raided her family home in Hebron early Saturday and told her relatives of intention to demolish the house.
Sha’arawi was the motherin- law of a senior Hamas figure from Hebron, Muhammad Natsheh, who is currently being held in an Israeli prison. A family member said she was driving her son’s car and was on her way to visit her brother.
Earlier on Friday, an Israeli civilian sustained moderate- to-serious wounds in a knife attack in the parking lot of the Rami Levy supermarket in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial park in the West Bank. The assailant fled and IDF units searched the area for him.
The terrorist had recorded a Facebook video message and released it online in which he identified himself as Bara Faika Issa and said he sacrificed his “soul to guard al-Aksa and protect our occupied land with a pure intention to stand before Allah with all my physical and mental power.”
In the recording, Issa said he did not receive any instruction from an organization to carry out the attack. After the attack, he turned himself in to the Palestinian Authority police.
The attack was the second in two weeks to occur in a parking lot of the Rami Levy supermarket chain. On October 28, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a female shopper in the back as she headed to her car in the lot at the Gush Etzion store.
The Rami Levy supermarket chain, which hires both Israelis and Palestinians, and where both populations shop, is seen as an island of coexistence.
An unnamed settler group, however, said the attack showed that the time had come for Rami Levy to stop hiring Palestinians and called on consumers to boycott the chain until it did so.
“We’re a group of Jews from the Samaria and Judea communities that decided, in light of the catastrophe around the Rami Levy branches with all the Arabs that work and shop there, that we will stop shopping in Rami Levy,” the group said.
“Join us so we can stop this hypocrisy,” the group said in a message it sent to the media.
Rami Levy, the owner of the chain that bears his name, said he has no intention of changing his hiring policy and that he does not take gender, race or ethnicity into consideration when evaluating potential employees.
“To do so, would be to give way to extremism and hand a victory over to the terrorists,” Levy said.
Most businesses and institutions hire Arab workers, including hospitals, gas stations and coffee shops, he said. Ironically, he said, he is also attacked by Palestinians who consider him to be “the biggest settler” for placing two of his stores in the West Bank.
People who are opposed to coexistence only help smear Israel’s name in the international community, he added.
Levy explained that when journalists, particularly from Europe, come to Israel he brings them to his stories so they can see that the negative stories they have heard about Israel are simply not true.
In the wake of the attack, he called on people to continue to come and shop in his stores and not to let fear keep them at home.
The deputy head of the Binyamin Regional Council, Yisrael Gantz, called on residents to remain alert and to continue with their normal routine.
“Today’s attack shows that there is no difference between Beersheba and Sha’ar Binyamin,” Gantz said.
The best response to the terrorist attack, Gantz said, is to stop supporting the “surreal idea” of a two-state solution.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.