Palestinian shoots seven Israelis outside West Bank settlement
Hamas praises the attack at a bus stop outside Ofra as ‘heroic’
An Israeli military manhunt for a Palestinian gunman is continuing after a drive-by shooting wounded several Israelis at a bus stop near a settlement in the occupied West Bank on Sunday night.
Six people were taken to hospital after the attack near Ofra, north of Jerusalem. These included a 30-year-old woman whose condition was serious, the army said.
The victims also included two 16-year-old girls and a 21-year-old pregnant woman.
"Shots were fired at Israeli civilians standing at a bus station from a passing Palestinian vehicle," the military wrote on Twitter.
Nearby Israeli soldiers "responded by firing towards the vehicle, which fled", the army said, adding "troops are currently searching the area".
Hamas praised the attack as a “heroic” reaction to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its settlement enterprise.
“The heroic Ofra operation is an affirmation of our people’s choice and legitimacy in resisting the Zionist occupation and its settlers,” Abdelatif Al Qanou, a Hamas spokesman, posted on his Facebook page.
“It proves that any attempt to condemn the Palestinian resistance will fail in the face of the desire and valiance of our Palestinian people.”
Israeli police and soldiers searched Palestinian villages on Monday and arrested 25 Palestinians in raids across Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa. Israeli forces regularly raid addresses across the West Bank to detain Palestinians, which often spark clashes between Palestinians and soldiers.
Sunday's shooting is the first such attack in the West Bank since November 26 when a Palestinian rammed Israeli soldiers with a car and injured three of them. The assailant in that incident was later killed by Israeli forces.
In response to the attack, Israel's hard-right nationalist Jewish Home party called for the legalisation of settlement homes in Ofra and for it to made a regular Israeli town, despite its location in the West Bank. Israeli outposts, considered illegal under international law, host more than 400,000 Jewish occupants in the occupied territory.
Ofra, home to 3,500 settlers, was built on privately owned Palestinian land which Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Updated: December 10, 2018 05:01 PM