The unrest comes just days after US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan, which was rejected by the Palestinian leadership both in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said a Palestinian gunman opened fire at a group of soldiers on Thursday who were stationed near the Parsa Junction outside the Dolev settlement, northwest of Ramallah on Thursday afternoon. The troops opened fire at the suspect and launched a manhunt to find him.
The reported drive-by shooting appears to be Thursday’s third attack on Israeli troops.
At the entrance to Jerusalem’s walled Old City on Thursday, a Palestinian gunman shot at a border policeman, lightly wounding him.
The shooting took place not far from a popular nightlife venue where a few hours earlier, a car rammed into Israeli soldiers who were sight-seeing after coming to the city to be sworn after basic training. One soldier was badly injured and another sustained moderate injuries, Israel’s Magen David Adom national ambulance service said. Twelve others were lightly injured. The driver was still at large, police said.
In the week and a half since the plan’s release, Israel’s military has noted a significant increase in violence in the West Bank, with regular riots, rock-throwing and violent opposition to Israeli arrest raids.
In the West Bank, three Palestinians were killed in separate incidents, one during violent clashes. On Wednesday, a Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli troops as he threw a Molotov cocktail at them in Hebron, the military said.
On Thursday, there were clashes in Jenin in the West Bank during the demolition of a terrorist’s home, in which a Palestinian police officer and a Palestinian police cadet were killed under unclear circumstances.
Hamas had called “escalating confrontations” with Israel earlier on Wednesday in response to Mr Trump’s plan, which Palestinians have denounced as heavily biased in favour of Israel.
Hamas has praised the rising violence, with spokesman Hazem Qassem stating: “The spreading resistance and clashes by our people in the West Bank and their resistance in the heart of occupied Jerusalem is an active response against the destructive Trump deal”.
On Tuesday, three rockets were fired by terrorists in Gaza into Israel. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) aircraft responded by striking several terror targets in southern Gaza. A total of 13 rockets have been fired into Israel in the past week, the IDF said.
The area has seen a marked increase in violence in recent days days, with near daily rocket fire and launches of suspected balloon borne bombs, drawing retaliatory airstrikes.