Two IDF soldiers injured in Huwara shooting

The Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine took responsibility for the attack.

 An Israeli troop stands guard, at the scene of a shooting, in Huwara, in the West Bank, March 19, 2023. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
An Israeli troop stands guard, at the scene of a shooting, in Huwara, in the West Bank, March 19, 2023.

Two IDF soldiers were injured in a shooting attack in Huwara on Saturday evening, the third shooting attack in the town in the past month, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

The soldiers were reportedly conscious and in serious and moderate condition. One of them was severely injured and one moderately injured. They were transferred to Rabin Medical Center for further treatment. Initial reports indicate that the terrorist fired from a passing vehicle before escaping from the scene.

The highway that runs through the town was shut down immediately after the attack. A number of additional roads in the area were closed as well, including the entrances to Nablus, as security forces conducted searches for the terrorists who carried out the attack.

The IDF was also on high alert in an attempt to prepare for preventing settlers from carrying out revenge attacks on the town.

According to Palestinian reports, Israeli forces entered the town of Beita, located east of Huwara, shortly after the attack. Clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces as they entered Beita.

 An Israeli troop stands guard, at the scene of a shooting, in Huwara, in the West Bank, March 19, 2023. (credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS) An Israeli troop stands guard, at the scene of a shooting, in Huwara, in the West Bank, March 19, 2023. (credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

After the attack, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held a situation assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, the head of the Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, and other senior officials in the defense establishment.

The Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, announced on Saturday evening that it was responsible for the shooting attack.

"The Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades sends a serious call to all the Palestinian people and their living forces to unite and close ranks in the Palestinian resistance front, as a field frontal framework for resistance," said the brigades.

Shortly after the attack, the Lions' Den terrorist group posted a message reading "Peace be upon [Adham Mabrouk] Al-Shishani (a member of the group killed in clashes with Israeli forces in February) and his companions, so that their hearts may be at peace." It is unclear as of yet if the message was meant to express support for the attack or serve as a claim of responsibility.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem welcomed the attack, saying "For the third time in a month, the resistance strikes the occupation army in the same place in the town of Huwara, to confirm the inability of the occupation and all its military and security system to confront the resistance youth in the West Bank."

"The resistance in the West Bank is capable of surprising the occupation every time. The occupation cannot enjoy security while it carries out assassinations, assaults sanctities and continues its occupation and settlement."

"We won't make allowances for the government because we voted for it," said Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan. "The government is continuing the policy of the previous one. It's starting to feel like neglect. We demand the return of security checkpoints and the gathering of weapons."

"It's starting to feel like neglect."

Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan

"I'm calling on people to pray for the health of the injured people, and I'm asking to gather the cabinet immediately upon the return of the prime minister to make decisions," said National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. "IDF soldiers and settlers are driving on terror-stricken roads especially in Huwara, and it's time to get some order in the town, set up permanent checkpoints, and close shops that are a danger."

After the attack on Saturday evening, Likud MK Danny Danon called for the shops on the main road of Huwara to be closed until the bypass road being built around the town is completed.

Tensions are heightened as Ramadan begins

The attack also comes amid heightened tensions surrounding the beginning of the month of Ramadan, which began on Wednesday evening.

About 100,000 Muslim worshippers arrived at al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount for the first Friday afternoon prayers of the month of Ramadan, with thousands of police reinforcements operating in the area to keep the peace.

The prayers were conducted without any reported violence or disturbances, although after the prayers, a small group of young men chanted "Put sword against sword. We are Mohammad Deif's men!" on the Temple Mount and held a banner expressing support for Palestinian terrorist groups.

The banner and a number of Hamas flags were hung up near the Dome of the Rock. One of the individuals who raised the flags was arrested after exiting the site and additional individuals were expected to be arrested as well.

Later in the afternoon, police entered the Temple Mount and removed the banner and the flags. Palestinians at the scene chanted slogans and jeered at the police officers. 

This is the third terror attack in Huwara in a month. At the beginning of March, two brothers, Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were murdered. Earlier this week, David Stern was shot while driving through the town with his family. He managed to shoot the terrorist after being shot.

This is a developing story.