At least seven people were wounded Sunday by gunfire shot from a passing Palestinian vehicle near Ofra Junction in the West Bank: a 21-year-old pregnant woman was seriously wounded; her husband and another victim were moderately wounded; and four 16-year-old teens were lightly wounded.
The shots were fired towards Israeli civilians who took part in a candle-lighting ceremony in memory of a car accident victim, at a bus station near the junction. IDF troops who were present nearby responded by firing towards the suspect vehicle, which fled.
IDF troops are currently searching the area. The Commanding Officer of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Eran Niv, is present at the scene.
An initial investigation revealed that 15 minutes after the candle-lighting ceremony began, a Palestinian vehicle arrived at the entrance to Ofra, near the bus stop on Road 60. A terrorist who was sitting n the vehicle opened fire at the Israelis who were standing at the bus stop. An IDF force that was near the area, fired at the vehicle and apparently managed to hit the vehicle, before the terrorist managed to escape the scene.
The report was received by an MDA team at 9:25pm. MDA paramedics with the assistance of the IDF Medical Corps, provided medical treatment to the victims, which were later evacuated to hospitals in Jerusalem.
The pregnant woman, who was seriously wounded and suffered from gunshot wounds to her upper body, and another victim, a 21-year-old male who was moderately wounded, were evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Dr. Alon Schwarz, a trauma surgeon at Shaare Zedek Medical Center said that the doctors had delivered the young woman's baby, and admitted the baby into the neonatal intensive care unit. Since the young woman lost a lot of blood, the doctor added, her life is still in danger.
The other victims, four 16-year-old teens who were lightly wounded, were evacuated to Hadassah Medical Center.
IDF forces arrived in Silwad, a Palestinian town located nearby, and confiscated security cameras from local businesses. Silwan, which is affiliated with Hamas, is home to the Hammad clan— a family from the West Bank who has one of the closest ties to the terrorist organization.
"We heard shooting and immediately ran to the Intensive Care Unit, we reached the scene and saw a 21-year-old female lying on the ground, conscious with a gunshot wound, and a 21-year-old male with a number of gunshot wounds to his lower body," said MDA EMT Benzi Glick and MDA Paramedic Betzalel Ben Hamu.
"We provided them with lifesaving medical treatment and evacuated them to hospital while stopping the bleeding, and administering fluids and medications. The woman's condition was critical and unstable and the man's condition was moderate and stable. Assisted by the IDF Medical team, we treated another wounded male in moderate condition," they added.
According to MDA Paramedic Shalom Galil, "four 16-year-old teens—two girls who were fully conscious and two boys, with wounds to their limbs— received initial treatment at the scene, and were evacuated by ambulances to hospital in light condition."
"Unfortunately, even after the terrible terrorist attack in the Barkan industrial area and after the attacks that followed—the attack at a bus stop outside the Samaria Territorial Brigade base, and the attack at Gitai Junction on Highway 5—no retaliation was carried out by the security forces against the Palestinian Authority and the terror cells. The method of containment does not work, the Head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, said in a statement.
"I call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the defense minister, to order the IDF to retaliate against the Palestinian Authority and carry out an operation in the suspects' hometown. We have to deal with these murderous terrorists the same way we dealt with them as a small country. Now that we are a big and powerful country—we are losing our deterrence, which brings about one attack after the other," he added.
The Yesha Council—an organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank— called on Netanyahu "to strengthen settlements' security, construction and regulation." The council asked to strengthen the hands of IDF soldiers and security forces, adding that the government should not cut down security measures in Jewish settlements.
During his briefing to members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last month, Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman warned that the relative quiet in the West Bank is "deceptive," as "Hamas is trying very hard to carry out terror attacks in and from Judea and Samaria."
Argaman went on to explain that "Over the past year, we were able to thwart 480 terror
attacks, including 219 Hamas cells and 590 lone attackers. This is a very large number that is indicative of the terrorism bubbling under the surface."