IDF: Troops targeted in drive-by shooting in northern West Bank

The Israel Defense Forces said troops were targeted in a drive-by shooting near a checkpoint by the entrance of an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank.

“A number of suspects fired from a passing vehicle at an IDF force stationed at the entrance to the Homesh,” the IDF said in a statement.

According to the military, troops returned fire but the vehicle fled the scene.

No Israeli injuries were reported. Several shell casings were found by troops at the scene, the IDF added.

The military launched a manhunt for the gunmen.

The incident came amid recent tensions in the West Bank, as Israeli security forces have stepped up operations following a deadly wave of terror attacks that left 19 people dead between mid-March and the beginning of May.

Last week, three Israelis, including a senior IDF officer, were lightly hurt after Palestinian gunmen opened fire at Joseph’s Tomb on the outskirts of Nablus, while Jewish worshippers were visiting the site.

During raids across the West Bank overnight, security forces arrested six wanted Palestinians, the IDF said Tuesday morning. During an operation near Jenin in which two suspects were detained, gunfire was directed at troops without causing injuries, a statement said.

The unauthorized settlement of Homesh was officially dismantled in 2005, but a hardline yeshiva, or religious seminary, has continued to operate there on a daily basis, with no intervention by the army, in direct violation of Israeli law.

In December, one of the yeshiva’s students, Yehuda Dimentman, was shot dead in a terror attack just outside the site, as he was making his way home. The attack renewed public debate over Homesh, with some on the left in Israel calling for the military to enforce the closure of the site, while those on the right have argued for it to be legalized.

There have also been several reported incidents of violence by the outpost’s settlers against Israeli security forces and Palestinians.

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