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Northern West Bank Comes Under Gunfire, in Latest in Series of Attacks

Homes in Avnei Hefetz slightly damaged; military launches hunt for Palestinian gunman after troops find 30 shell casings nearby
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, alongside military and local security forces in the settlement of Avnei Hefetz in the northern West Bank, April 5, 2022. (Samaria Regional Council )
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, alongside military and local security forces in the settlement of Avnei Hefetz in the northern West Bank, April 5, 2022. (Samaria Regional Council )

A suspected Palestinian gunman opened fire at the settlement of Avnei Hefetz in the northern West Bank late Monday, causing damage to several buildings, according to the military.

The town ordered residents to stay indoors as heavy gunfire was heard near the town.

Local security sources said the gunman arrived in a vehicle, opened fire, and fled the scene.

Troops found some 30 shell casings nearby, as well as bullet holes in several homes. No injuries were caused.

The Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday that it had launched a manhunt for the alleged gunman.

The shooting came amid heightened tensions following several deadly terror attacks in Israeli cities, as well as gun battles with terror group members in the West Bank.

A series of deadly terror attacks in Israel within a span of eight days late last month left 11 people dead and put Israeli security forces on heightened alert. Tensions have remained high, with some fearing the violence could snowball into a repeat of of deadly events nearly a year ago, when Israel battled Gazan terror groups and rioting broke out in mixed Jewish-Arab cities.

Leaders have vowed to crack down on terror since the attacks, launching Operation Breakwater, which has targeted individuals suspected of planning future attacks. Military chief Aviv Kohavi said Monday that the IDF had foiled nearly a dozen terror attacks in the previous two weeks.

On Saturday, Israeli troops killed three Palestinian Islamic Jihad gunmen who were allegedly en route from the Jenin area to carry out an attack in Israel. Two other alleged gunmen were killed during a raid in the West Bank city on Thursday.

On Sunday night, undercover officers from the police’s Yamam counterterrorism unit arrested a Palestinian man suspected of planning a terror attack on the Route 6 highway.

The escalation in fighting has come as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins — often a period of high tension in Israel and the West Bank.

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