Two Israeli soldiers were wounded late Sunday night when a car rammed into them in the village of N'ima in the northern West Bank. Two of the suspects have been shot and killed by Israeli forces, a third was lighly wounded, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
An IDF spokesperson said that several soldiers had stopped on the side of the road near the exit of the village when they were attacked. An initial investigation by the IDF concluded that the incident was a terror attack.
The two soldiers, both in their early twenties, were evacuated to a nearby hospital where one remains in critical condition, emergency services said. The other, a Border Police officer, was treated for light injuries and later discharged to his home.
"When we arrived they led us to an IDF medical unit that treated the two young people who were injured by the car. They were both fully conscious," MDA paramedic Ahuva Stern added.
Palestinians said that prior to the incident, IDF forces entered the village to conduct arrests. As the forces were leaving the village, residents reported hearing shots fired, after which two youths were said to be killed.
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The head of the N'ima regional council said, "We do not have accurate information about what happened, but we do not rule out the Palestinian vehicle lost control and that this was an accident."
According to him, the identity of the men involved remains unknown, and that they may be from one of the adjacent villages, not from N'ima.
Residents of N'ima told Haaretz the soldiers were standing at an unmarked and unlit spot when the car hit them, and that the claim this was a politicially-motivated attack requires further inquiry.
IDF Spokesperson's unit said an initial probe revealed the assailants hurled molotov cocktails at a passage near the 443 Highway, and that more were found inside their vehicle after they were shot.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the attack, saying that the IDF "responded quickly" to the threat and wishing a speedy recovery to the officer wounded in the attack. He added that "we will do everything to rush the demolition of the homes of these murderers, just as we did with the murderer of Ori Ansbacher." Netanyahu said that he already gave the instruction to expedite the demolition of the assailants' homes.
A Hamas spokesperson said the killing of the two Palestinians proves those who "rebel against the occupation will not cease until it is done, and will not accept the plans to Judaize Jerusalem."
Islamic Jihad condemned the killing and said "The execution of Palestinians under the guise of fighting terror is a bold violation of Palestinians' rights and a war crime against the Palestinian people."
In December, Israeli security forces carried out two separate operations in the West Bank to find the suspects of a drive-by shooting that wounded seven near the settlement of Ofra, and the assailant of the Barkan attack that killed two.