Palestinian violence rises in West Bank, Israel cuts number of troops on leave

A civilian car was hit by gunfire south of Nablus before dawn on Monday, but no injuries were reported, in the latest spat of tensions.

 A Palestinian gunman fires a weapon in the air during the funeral of Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a senior commander of the Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who was killed in armed clashes with Israeli forces, in Nablus in the West Bank August 9, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)
A Palestinian gunman fires a weapon in the air during the funeral of Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a senior commander of the Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who was killed in armed clashes with Israeli forces, in Nablus in the West Bank August 9, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)

With an increase in shooting attacks against the IDF and civilians in the West Bank, the army has decided to reduce the number of troops taking furlough in the Judea and Samaria Division.

According to a report by Army Radio, the order will remain in place until after the High Holy Days, in order to increase manpower in the division without having to call up reserves or reinforce troop deployment with additional battalions.

Several shots were fired early Monday morning at an Israeli vehicle driving through the northern West Bank town of Huwara. There were no injuries in the attack, and the driver continued driving until he reached the nearby settlement of Ariel, where he reported the incident. The car was hit by at least three bullets.

The IDF launched a manhunt for the gunmen, who are believed to have opened fire from a passing vehicle. 

The attack comes amid an increase in shooting attacks in the West Bank.

 IDF operating in the West Bank to arrest terror suspects, September 6, 2022. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF operating in the West Bank to arrest terror suspects, September 6, 2022. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

According to data released by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), there were at least 23 shooting attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem in August, an increase of more than 50% from the 15 that took place in July. In addition, there were 135 Molotov cocktail attacks compared with 75 in July (an 80% increase), and 39 pipe bombs in August vs 27 in July (44% more).

At least 15 Israelis, both civilians and troops, were injured during the attacks in August.

A wave of violence 

On Thursday, an 18-year-old man was moderately wounded after being hit by gunfire in the southern West Bank settlement of Carmel in the Mount Hebron area. There was also a report of a car that had come under fire just outside the settlement, possibly by the same gunman who was able to escape the scene.

The day before, Maj. Bar Falach was killed after two Palestinians opened fire on the force that had approached the pair, who were acting suspiciously near the security barrier. Troops responded with fire and killed the two, one of whom served as an intelligence officer in the Palestinian Authority Security Forces.

The incident took place near the flashpoint city of Jenin, where there has been an increase in violent clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians.

Last Sunday, shots were fired from a passing vehicle toward soldiers on patrol near the Jalame crossing near Jenin. There were no injuries in the incident.

At the beginning of the month, five soldiers and a civilian were injured after Palestinians opened fire on a bus carrying troops from the Kfir Brigade in the Jordan Valley.

One soldier was seriously injured with neck wounds, and at least two were moderately injured in the attack, including the driver of the bus who was shot in the face. Two Palestinians were arrested by IDF soldiers, but a third suspect has yet to be caught.

Several days later, two Israeli vehicles were hit by nine bullets near Huwara. One Israeli was lightly injured and taken to the hospital. The gunmen were arrested a week later by the IDF and Shin Bet, which also confiscated the weapons used in the attack.