An Israeli in his 60s was lightly injured Monday morning when he was shot while waiting at a hitchhiking station in the northern West Bank. He had arrived at the spot, the Kedumim junction southwest of Nablus, after hitchhiking from the settlement of Karnei Shomron.
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He was shot twice in the leg by a gunman in a car that then fled the scene. The victim was taken to Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava. Police launched an intensive search for the car in the Palestinian villages near the site of the shooting.
Before the man was shot, the occupants of the car stopped and asked him for directions to Nablus, according to the police, and had a short conversation with him before opening fire with a pistol. Police said gunfire was also directed at others waiting at the stop, but they were not hit.
The attack follows a number of other recent violent incidents directed at Israelis in the West Bank, along with several fatal shootings of Palestinians. Last Thursday, Israeli troops severely wounded an 18-year-old Palestinian near Tul Karm.
Between January 1 and last Saturday, March 16, there were 22 stone-throwing incidents directed at Israelis on Route 443 alone. The highway runs through the West Bank from Modi’in to Jerusalem and serves 40,000 vehicles a day. Last year by contrast, there were nine such incidents from January through all of March. Three people were lightly injured in the most recent stone-throwing incidents.
Last week stones were thrown at vehicles on Route 443 on Thursday, Friday evening and Saturday evening. One of the cars hit was that of Modi’in rabbi Haim Navon, while he was on his way to Jerusalem. “Eight in the evening, on a major thoroughfare, en route to our capital. People whom I don’t know tried to kill me,” he wrote later on his Facebook page.
The Israel Defense Forces have made the stone-throwing problem on Route 443 a priority and have dispatched members of the Egoz army unit to the road. Since the beginning of the year, 18 suspects have been arrested in connection with stone-throwing along the route, which runs past a number of Palestinian villages.
On Friday six Israelis were lightly injured by stones thrown at them in the West Bank. The day before, near Ariel, a two-year old girl suffered severe head injuries when the car in which she was riding hit a truck after stones were thrown at passing vehicles.