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3 Israeli civilians wounded, 1 seriously, in rare southern West Bank shooting

<i>Dedi Hayun/Reuters</i><br/>Israeli military and security personnel work at the scene of a shooting attack at Tekoa Junction in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on July 16.
Dedi Hayun/Reuters
Israeli military and security personnel work at the scene of a shooting attack at Tekoa Junction in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on July 16.

By Hadas Gold and Michael Schwartz, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN) — An Israeli man was seriously wounded and his two daughters were hurt in a shooting in the West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli emergency services said Sunday.

The shooting took place in the Israeli-occupied southern West Bank, which is normally calmer than the north.

The trio were injured after shots were fired from a moving vehicle at the Tekoa Junction, south of Bethlehem, the IDF said. Three suspects, including the purported gunman, have been arrested, Israeli authorities said in a statement.

The wounded man, in his mid-30s, was conscious and in a serious but stable condition with gunshot wounds, the Magen David Adom (MDA) rescue service said when it responded to the attack.

The girls, aged 9 and 14, were mildly injured in the incident by what the MDA called shrapnel. All three were taken to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, the MDA said. A volunteer emergency medical worker at the scene confirmed the the wounded man was the father of the two.

The incident prompted Israeli authorities to close checkpoints around the historic city of Bethlehem, normally one of the West Bank’s more peaceful areas.

“We’re talking about an area where there hasn’t been a serious terrorist attack for years,” local Israeli official Shlomo Ne’eman said in a statement obtained by the Jerusalem Post.

“We all wish a speedy recovery to the person wounded, and embrace the security forces who will soon catch the despicable terrorists, and settle the score with them. We will not give in to the terrorists who seek to spill Jewish blood and throw us out of our country.”

Palestinian sources said Israeli troops at checkpoints were searching every car as they looked for the suspects, creating a traffic jam lasting at least hours on a day when Israel and the West Bank are suffering a heatwave.

IDF troops carried out an operation to arrest the the suspected gunman, along with two other people described simply as suspects, and confiscate one vehicle, in which Israeli forces found an M-16 rifle.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops accompanied, with the IDF using what it called “riot dispersal means.” The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) said it treated 35 people in the field for tear gas inhalation. Three people were treated at a nearby hospital for minor to moderate live bullet injuries and a fourth was treated for an injury from a rubber-coated metal bullet.

Most of the recent violence in the West Bank has taken place in the region’s north, especially in Jenin and Nablus. Both those cities have seen Israel carry out deadly anti-terror raids and Palestinian militants attacking civilians, sometimes in response to the IDF operations.

The Israeli government and IDF say its military actions in the West Bank are designed to root out terrorist and minimize civilian casualties, though the raids have forced hundreds of families to flee their homes and have seen innocents caught in the crossfire.

A massive operation earlier this month in Jenin saw at least 10 people killed and more than 100 others injured.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the military was fighting terror strongholds “while doing everything, everything to avoid civilian casualties.” Residents who recounted the incident to CNN described it as traumatic and “horrifying.”

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CNN’s Abeer Salman contributed to this report

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Europe/Mideast/Africa

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