3 Israelis Hit in Drive-by Shooting Attack Near Ramallah

Three Israeli hikers were wounded on Friday in a drive-by shooting in Wadi Zarka, north of Ramallah. The Israel Defense Forces and police believe a terrorist ambushed the hikers and shot them when they came within range. One hiker sustained moderate to serious injuries, another was moderately wounded, and a third was lightly hurt.

A preliminary investigation indicates that the three went with some friends for a hike in the wadi without coordinating with the army as required.

One of the unhurt hikers, who is a trained paramedic, returned fire, but the shooter fled. The paramedic gave his friends first-aid treatment and reported the attack. Security and rescue personnel arrived at the scene and located the victims, who hid in the bushes for fear of another attack.

The army launched a wide-scale search for the shooter, but he has not yet been caught.

Rescue teams had trouble evacuating the wounded to an army helicopter because of the rough terrain. It took almost 40 minutes for the teams to locate the hikers; they then had to tread carefully in case more terrorists were in the area.

The wounded hikers were eventually flown to Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. One had been shot in the back, another in the stomach and the third in the ankle.

Other hikers suffered from dehydration as they waited in hiding to be rescued.

After this incident, the IDF clarified that all hikes in the West Bank must be coordinated beforehand with security officials in the sector. It said a lack of such coordination endangers hikers and might lead to more incidents.

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel called for halting the transfer of any arms to the Palestinian Authority because of the attack, saying that the source of the gun used must be investigated.