The dark looks of the Jewish settlers with the assault rifle on their shoulders and the tears of Israeli soldiers almost adolescents described on Thursday morning a scene of tragedy at the crossing of Asaf, one of the main approaches to Ramallah ( West Bank ). A few minutes earlier, around 11.30 (10.30 in the Spanish mainland) a Palestinian descended from his vehicle before a bus stop and pick-up point for hitchhikers and opened fire at point-blank range against a group of Israeli soldiers.
Shot to shot, with the coldness of a gunman, he killed two soldiers and caused serious injuries to two others – a man and a woman – before fleeing in the car. Tension has skyrocketed in the occupied West Bank in recent days. Another similar attack, recorded last Sunday in the nearby Ofra settlement has resulted in the death of a premature baby and seven bullet wounds.
The army has sealed all the entrances to Ramallah and patrol the streets of the Palestinian administrative capital in broad daylight in search of the perpetrators of the latest attack, in which security experts see the seal of the Hamas dormant commandos in the West Bank.
The ambulances of the Red Star of David hooted from Highway 60, the axis that runs through the West Bank from north to south and shared by Israelis and Palestinians. The prospect of the chaotic scene of platoons of soldiers running and toilets breaking through came together in two bodies that lay next to the bus stop. They were covered by dark blankets through which the Regimental boots of the Infantry corps loomed.
“We will not let ourselves be hunted like ducks in a shooting range,” said the leaders of the Yesha Council, a body that brings together the representatives of the more than 400,000 Israeli settlers settled in the West Bank. The inhabitants of the settlements also demand the prohibition of the trips of the Arab population by the highway 60.
This strategic route was blocked to about 25 kilometers to the north of Jerusalem while it was patent the passage of armored and military vehicles. A military spokesman confirmed the sending of several battalions to protect the critical points of the colonies.
The attack on the crossing of Asaf is one of the most serious in the escalation of violence recorded in the last week in the West Bank. On Sunday there was another assault with firearms from a vehicle, which caused seven injuries at an Ofra bus stop on the same road 60, five kilometers north of Asaf. Among them was a seven-month pregnant woman who had to undergo an emergency cesarean section. The death of the baby born prematurely in a hospital in Jerusalem shocked Israeli society on Wednesday.
The massive deployment undertaken by security forces in the West Bank has resulted in the shooting death of one of the alleged perpetrators of the Ofra bombing in the early hours of Thursday, when he was trying to escape his detention near Ramallah, a spokesman said, Army.
On the same night from Wednesday to Thursday was also killed by military forces in Nablus (north of the West Bank) another Palestinian. He was accused of the death of an Israeli man and woman in the West Bank settlement of Barkan on October 7. The walls of the place where he fell lifeless in the Askar refugee camp were riddled with bullets and there were traces of blood on the ground, France Presse reported.
Another Palestinian attacker was also killed on Tuesday by Israeli gunfire after trying to run over two border police officers (militarized corps) near Hebron with his vehicle. In a similar action, another driver who tried to trample several soldiers in the town of Al Bireh, adjacent to Ramallah, was gunned down on Thursday.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanayhu, announced that the demolition of the houses of the families of the attackers, a reprisal measure that the Israeli Army usually applies, will be carried out within 48 hours after the attacks. “Last night we settled accounts with the assassins of the terrorist attacks in Barkan and Ofra, and today we have suffered a serious attack with two dead soldiers,” he said in a statement released by the government’s press office. “The principle that guides us is that whoever attacks us will pay for it with their life, our enemies know it, and we will find them.”
The Armed ForcesThey are on alert for the danger of “imitation attacks” in the West Bank in the midst of the wave of attacks, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told to international press. The violence has subsided on the Gaza border in recent weeks, coinciding with the arrival of funds from Qatar, with the approval of the Israeli Government, to pay officials and fuel from the local power plant.
After eight months of protests at the border fence, in which more than 200 Palestinian protesters were killed by Israeli Army snipers, incidents on the border are still causing casualties. A four-year-old Palestinian boy died Tuesday after being injured during the marches last Friday.
The emergence of a new wave of attacks, such as that registered for more than a year as of October 2015, worries Israeli security analysts. “The attacking commandos are using the same modus operandi, so we can assume that we are facing a new wave of violence,” argues Barak Ben Zur, former head of the Shin Bet intelligence service (internal security) in a report collected by the Israeli-American NGO The Israel Project.
“Those who have started these terrorist attacks are the same as they tried two months ago. Hamas, which aims to open a new front in the West Bank while downgrading its activity in Gaza, “added Ben Zur. “We are dismantling the new attackers cells of Hamas in Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and elsewhere,” he revealed the daily Haaretz high military command, “and although often we succeed, sometimes things end badly.”