Explosive thrown at IDF troops near West Bank border; no injuries

An attacker threw an explosive at Israeli troops near the West Bank border early Wednesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The explosive was thrown from a passing vehicle near the Israeli Arab community of Salem, which is just north of the West Bank border, the IDF said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear whether the incident took place in the West Bank or in Israeli territory.

Troops returned fire at the vehicle and “hits were identified,” the IDF statement said. Soldiers were sweeping the area in search of the suspects.

No Israeli forces were injured.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting almost nightly raids on the West Bank amid a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Palestine. Those tensions have escalated further in recent months, with a cycle of deadly Israeli raids and Palestinian attacks, as well as an increase in settler violence.

Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 dead and several others seriously injured.

At least 86 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them in attacks or during clashes with security forces, although some were unrelated civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

On Tuesday, the IDF informed the family of a Palestinian gunman accused of killing a soldier in the West Bank last year that the army plans to demolish their home in the city of Nablus.

On Saturday, two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a drive-by shooting attack in the town of Huwara in the northern West Bank. The town has been the site of two other terror attacks in recent weeks, with a high-profile rampage by settlers after one of the attacks killed two brothers.

The rising tension comes as Israel deals with widespread unrest sparked by government plans to reform the judiciary.

Opposition to the controversial legislative effort has grown in the ranks of the military, with some reservists stopping their service in protest, and security officials warning that the unrest posed a security threat.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday afternoon after Gallant requested a temporary halt to the legislative effort, a freeze that the chief executive agreed to the next day.

Gallant remained in his post on Tuesday, but his future, and a possible successor as defense minister, remained uncertain.

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