Gunshots hit a crowded Israeli bus in the West Bank; IDF launches manhunt

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An Israeli bus came under fire in the central West Bank on Saturday evening, security forces said, adding that no one was injured in the incident.

The shots were fired from the Palestinian town of Silwad at a bus traveling along Route 60, the main north-south highway in the West Bank, near the settlement of Ofra, the IDF said in a statement.

The Egged Ta’avura bus was full at the time of the attack and at least eight bullet holes were found on the windows and body of the bus, according to the Binyamin Regional Council.

The driver continued to the nearby junction of Shiloh where dispatched troops arrived and launched a manhunt for the shooter(s). Doctors also rushed to the crossroads but were ultimately not called to treat anyone.

As part of the search for the suspects, the army closed the entrance to Silwad, according to Palestinian media.

Binyamin Regional Council Chairman Yisrael Gantz said the shooting was part of an ongoing escalation by Palestinian gunmen and demonstrated a “loss of deterrence” on the part of Israeli authorities.

“We demand immediate, decisive and profound actions to eradicate terrorism and restore deterrence on the ground,” he added.

The Israeli Bus Drivers’ Union, part of the Histadrut Labor Federation, called for an end to “violence and terror” against Israeli buses.

“We must not overlook the blood of drivers and passengers,” the union said in a statement.

The incident comes amid escalating tensions in the West Bank, with Israeli security forces stepping up raids and arrest operations following a deadly wave of terror attacks on Israelis that left 19 dead earlier this year.

Earlier Saturday, three Palestinian women from Nablus with a makeshift submachine gun in their car were arrested near a checkpoint in the West Bank on Saturday.

On Friday, an unarmed 58-year-old Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli soldiers during an IDF raid in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The IDF confirmed it opened fire in a raid in the town of Tubas, but said it targeted armed suspects who attacked troops with gunfire and bombs arsonists.

Footage of Salah Sawafta’s murder does not appear to show he was involved in the fighting before he was shot.

“There were clashes with youths in the area and Salah was shot in the head after buying a bag of bread from a grocery store,” his brother told The Associated Press.

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