Two suspects were arrested after six Israeli soldiers and one other passenger aboard a bus were injured in a shooting attack in the northern reaches of the West Bank on Sunday, according to an Israeli military spokesperson.
The shooting took place in the Jordan Valley, near the Israeli settlement of Hamra, where Magen David Adom paramedics treated the wounded passengers and transferred them to hospital for treatment.
According to the IDF, the attackers shot at the bus from a truck. After the bus stopped, the suspects poured gasoline on the bus in an attempt to light it on fire. A senior IDF source says that they intended to board the bus and set it alight, but the flammable liquid combusted and engulfed their vehicle.
The Israeli Police forces said they arrested the persons who carried out the shooting attack after conducting searches in the area. Two of the suspects were later found nearby a burnt truck with a weapon but the military believes a third suspect is still at large.
Both were arrested and will be transferred for investigation. A senior military source says that one of the attackers carried an Israeli ID card, as his mother is an Israeli citizen. According to other sources the three are relatives, and live in the Jordan Valley, Jericho and Burqin, respectively.
Israeli soldiers raided the Palestinian village of Khirbet 'Atuf near the site of the attack in search of suspects soon after the attack, Palestinian eyewitnesses confirmed.
"We saw two people with gunshot wounds outside the bus being treated by IDF medics," a Magen David Adom medic said. "They were fully conscious and were able to communicate with us. In addition, there were two young men injured by broken glass."
Another paramedic that arrived at the scene reported that one of the wounded was a 61-year-old man who was hit in the upper body. He and another passenger who was hit were evacuated by helicopter to the Rambam hospital in Haifa for treatment. The bus driver, 61, remains in a serious condition. Three soldiers remain in treatment, one of them to undergo an operation later tonight, and two others have been released.
The Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack and announced it signalled the start of the "Summer Rain" campaign against the "crimes of the occupation".
A Hamas spokesperson praised the shooting, describing it as a "natural response to the occupation's crime and its continued attack on the al-Aqsa Mosque."
Last month, gun shots were fired toward an Israeli bus in the West Bank near the Palestinian village of Silwad, located northeast of Ramallah. No injuries were reported.
The bus was at capacity at the time of the shooting, and at least eight bullets hit the vehicle.