IDF launches manhunt after gunshots fired at full Israeli bus near West Bank

At least eight bullets hit a bus full of passengers driving along a major road in the West Bank on Saturday


The Israel Defence Force (IDF) has launched a manhunt after at least eight bullets hit a bus full of passengers travelling on a major road on Saturday evening.

The gunshots were fired from the Palestinian town of Silwad at a bus traveling along Route 60, the West Bank’s main north-south highway, according to a statement from the IDF.

The driver continued to a nearby junction on the highway following the attack, where IDF personnel arrived and launched a manhunt for the shooter or shooters.

The bus was full at the time of the attack, according to the Binyamin Regional Council, and at least eight bullet holes were found on the bus’s windows and body, but no injuries were reported, emergency medical services confirmed.

The unnamed bus driver told the Ynet Hebrew news site: "While en route to [the settlement of] Ariel I heard gunshots.

“I stepped on it and got away from there. It’s a dark area and there are no soldiers stationed there, so my goal was to get as far away from there as possible.”

“Only close to Shiloh I got off the bus and saw the damage. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

“I haven’t slept all night. I’m still shaking,” he added.

Yuval Hadad, a passenger on the bus, told Ynet: "We heard a few loud ‘booms.’ At first, I thought something fell on the bus. But when I saw other passengers taking cover I assumed it was rock throwing.

"We called the police… When we got off at Shilo we saw that the bus was full of holes.

"We’ll move on — this is our country — but obviously it’s a bit stressful. We have kids… It’s people’s lives we’re talking about."

As the manhunt was launched to find the shooters, the IDF closed the entrance to the Palestinian town of Silwad - where the shots were reportedly fired from - according to Palestinian media.

Binyamin Regional Council chairman Yisrael Gantz claimed this incident showed a "loss of deterrence” on the part of Israeli authorities, adding: “We demand immediate, decisive, and deep actions to eradicate terrorism and restore deterrence on the ground."

The Israeli Bus Drivers Union urged an end to the “violence and terror” against Israeli buses, adding in a statement: “We must not neglect the lives of the drivers and passengers."

Israeli forces have stepped up operations in the West Bank following a wave of terror that took the lives of 19 people earlier this year.

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

Overnight, the IDF conducted counterrorism operations in the West Banks, specifically the town of A-zbadde and the city of Hebron.

Three people suspected of involvement in terrorist activities were also arrested in Beit Fajjar, the IDF said in a statement.

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