Four Wounded, One Seriously, in West Bank Shooting Attack

Drive-by shooting near the settlement of Shvut Rachel is second attack in 24 hours; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility.

Tomer Appelbaum

Four people were wounded on Monday night in a drive-by shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel. One of the victims sustained serious injuries, and three sustained moderate injuries. The four victims were wounded by passengers firing from a moving vehicle.

There were contradictory reports on Tuesday morning as to which terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack. Initially, responsibility was claimed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, but later, reports surfaced indicating that the organization Fatah al-Intifada also claimed responsibility.

According to Palestinian officials, the Fatah al-Intifada group broke off from Fatah during the 1980's, and is mostly based in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, making it unlikely that it has a significant presence in the West Bank. 

It is difficult to tell to which group the attackers belong, as they managed to flee the scene, later declaring that they intend to continue their armed struggle. 

The seriously wounded victim and one of the moderately wounded were evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and the other two who were moderately injured were evacuated to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. Israeli forces are combing the area for suspects.

The seriously wounded victim, a 27-year-old man, was shot in the torso, and was operated on overnight. He remains in critical condition, and is hospitalized in the intensive care unit. The other victims also remain hospitalized, but in stable condition. 

Avi Roeh, head of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, as well as the Yesha Council, said Tuesday night that "this incident is the latest incident in a slew of sever terror attacks that began with the start of Ramadan. We hope that security forces will draws the necessary conclusions and ensure that things go back to normal. We will not tolerate daily threats here."

Earlier on Monday, a female Israeli soldier was seriously wounded in a stabbing at the Rachel Crossing, leading from south Jerusalem to Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.

Magen David Adom paramedics gave the soldier, a young woman about 20 years old, initial treatment at the scene of the stabbing. She was transferred to Hadassah Hospital Ein Karen with wounds to her upper body. She remains hospitalized, but in stable condition, and is reportedly conscious and communicative.

An initial police investigation reveals that a Palestinian woman approached the checkpoint, pulled out a knife, and stabbed the soldier. Security forces on site detained the assailant and confiscated two additional knives.

Earlier this month, a Palestinian man shot and killed an Israeli, and wounded one other, near the West Bank settlement of Dolev.