Palestinian terrorists wounded five Israelis, including four soldiers, in a shooting attack near Mevo Dotan in the northern West Bank on Tuesday afternoon.
The terrorists fired from a moving car at Menachem Orderman, a 33-year-old resident of the West Bank and father of five, moderately wounding him. Orderman, involved in civilian security issues, managed to fire back at them, though he did not hit them.
They drove further down the road and fired on a vehicle identified with the IDF’s paratrooper unit, wounding four IDF soldiers, who pursued the terrorists and fired on them. The soldiers were in light-to-moderate condition.
Later, the terrorists’ presumed vehicle was found abandoned and burned.
Orderman managed to drive to the Reihan Crossing and received initial medical treatment there before being transferred to the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera for further treatment.
The four wounded soldiers were also treated at the scene before one of them was transported to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in a helicopter in moderate condition. The other three lightly injured soldiers were evacuated to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan stated after the attack that it was a “difficult incident, with many casualties,” adding that it took place at “an intersection adjacent to the intersection where Meir Tamari was murdered about two weeks ago.”
Tamari, a 32-year-old Hermesh resident, was killed in a drive-by shooting attack, near a checkpoint that was not guarded. He was married and the father of two children.
“We have been begging for years and certainly after the attack, we begged, we cried out to stop abandoning us, to close the Hermesh checkpoint, to close the Mevo Dotan checkpoint. Whoever made the unfortunate decision to reopen the checkpoint at the entrance to Hermesh after the end of the seven days abandoned the lives of our residents,” added Dagan.
Israeli intelligence officials estimate that it is possible the terror cell which carried out the shootings on Tuesday is the same as the one that killed Tamari.
Opening and closing checkpoints is a controversial topic, both politically and tactically. On the one hand, even some opposition MKs, such as Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman, told KAN Radio on Tuesday that checkpoints should not be closed until the terrorists are caught, whose prior attacks led to setting up the checkpoints in the first place.
Since Tamari’s attackers have not yet been caught, Liberman said he opposed the closing of the checkpoints.
On the other hand, the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) frequently prefer to close checkpoints where it is possible so as not to cause more-than-necessary friction with the local Palestinian population, which could only lead to more terror.
This could especially be true where terrorists have not been caught for weeks, since it could take months to locate them and they may no longer even be in the area in question. The longer they are not caught, the harder it becomes to do so.
Dagan here argued that the attack would have been prevented if the checkpoint were staffed.
The IDF has in the past dismissed security suggestions from Dagan, contending that his logic is often based on believing that simple physical measures will prevent all terror attacks from occurring, whereas thwarting terror can be more complex, especially given different kinds of threats.
Israeli forces searching for the terrorists behind the attack entered the Palestinian town of Yabad located near the scene of the attack, after the shooting, according to Palestinian reports.
Israeli forces operate in Balata refugee camp
The attack came as Israeli forces operated in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. Armed clashes were reported in Balata as the forces surrounded a home in the camp to conduct arrests.
One Palestinian was killed and at least three others were injured in the clashes, according to Palestinian reports.