A man was shot dead on a bus in Jerusalem early Thursday after apparently trying to grab a gun from a soldier.
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The incident took place hours after five Israeli soldiers were run over by a Palestinian driver in the West Bank’s Gush Etzion region, and a 19-year-old female soldier was severely wounded by a knife-wielding Palestinian near the West Bank settlement of Adam.
According to a statement released by the police, the man killed in the Jerusalem incident asked two soldiers for their IDs as they were boarding a bus on Yirmiyahu Street, near the central bus station. When they asked him to identify himself, he began punching them, and according to the soldiers, tried to grab a weapon from one of them. They shot him in response. The incident occurred shortly after midnight on the night between Wednesday and Thursday.
The two soldiers were among those assigned recently to help police secure public transportation in Jerusalem.
The chairman of the Zaka emergency response organization, Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, said that at first, the incident appeared no different from the numerous recent stabbing attacks. "When I was asked to deal with the body, I realized that he was a Jew, and that he was mistaken for a terrorist," he said.
Aside from the Jerusalem incident, three attacks took place Wednesday, all in the West Bank, leaving seven Israelis wounded — six by car rammings, and one by stabbing. Security forces killed one of the assailants, wounded another and arrested the third.
In addition, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in an open area on the Israeli side of the border early on Wednesday evening, causing no injuries or damage. Around the same time dozens of Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops near Bureij in central Gaza.
Two of the five soldiers struck by the car in Gush Etzion in the evening sustained moderate wounds, while the others were light hurt. The soldiers had been driving in two cars on Route 60 near Beit Ummar shortly before 9 P.M. when their vehicles were pelted with stones. The two drivers pulled over to the side of the road, and when the passengers in one of the cars got out, they were run over by a Palestinian driver. At least one of the victims was taken to Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Kerem for treatment. The Palestinian hit-and-run driver was shot and severely wounded.
Around 3 P.M., a 19-year-old female soldier was stabbed in her upper body and left on the side of the road near Adam. She was taken in serious but stable condition to Hadassah University Hospital at Mount Scopus for treatment, then transferred to Hadassah Ein Kerem. Her assailant was shot and killed by another soldier.
A few hours earlier, a Palestinian driving a car with Israeli license plates rammed his car into a policeman at the Ofra checkpoint, leaving him mildly wounded. The driver fled on foot toward the Palestinian village Silwad, but was soon arrested.
Earlier still, a teenage Palestinian girl carrying a knife was shot and wounded by troops near Hebron.
Wednesday's attacks followed three stabbing attacks on Tuesday in Hebron, during which two Palestinians were shot and killed.
The IDF believes that the growing number of incidents in Hebron is a result of terror attacks elsewhere, with one attack inspiring others. “It’s contagious, but we can’t identify a directing hand,” said a defense establishment source.