Two Israelis killed amid spate of West Bank attacks





Israeli forces and forensic inspect the site of a shooting attack outside the West Bank settlement of Givat Asaf, north-east of Ramallah, on 13 December 2018.Image copyright
AFP

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The Palestinian attacker shot at people at a bus stop near a West Bank settlement, the Israeli military says

Two Israeli soldiers have been shot dead by a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military says, amid an upsurge of attacks in the area.

Two people were also severely injured when the gunman fired at a bus stop. A hunt for the suspect is under way.

It took place near the Ofra settlement, where a separate shooting on Sunday by a Palestinian led to the death of an Israeli newborn baby boy.

Dozens of Israelis have been killed in such attacks in the past three years.

Israel said earlier on Thursday that it had found and shot dead two suspected Palestinian attackersone who they said carried out Sunday’s shooting, and the other suspected of killing two Israelis in an attack on a factory in a West Bank settlement in October.

Palestinian militant Islamist group Hamas has said it was behind those attacks.

What do we know about the latest attack?

The attacker stepped out of a car and shot at soldiers and civilians at a bus stop near Ramallah before fleeing towards the city, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson said.

There was massive fire, bullet after bullet, but not in bursts,” an eyewitness told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

According to the Jerusalem Post, a Palestinianwearing an IDF military uniformwho they said was involved in the incident has been arrested. It is not clear if this is the same individual as the gunman.

A seriously injured man and woman were both taken to hospitals in Jerusalem for treatment.

The Israeli army said it had closed all entrances and exits to Ramallah city in a bid to find the attacker.

How have attacks increased?

The bus stop shooting came just hours after Israeli security forces shot dead two Palestinians who they said were behind two recent high-profile attacks in the West Bank.

One of them was Salah Barghouti, 29, who was killed in an operation in a village north of Ramallah late on Wednesday, according to Israeli security forces.

They said he was behind a drive-by shooting in the West Bank on Sunday that left seven Israelis wounded. Among those was a seven-month pregnant woman, whose newborn baby died on Wednesday after delivery by emergency caesarean.

Image copyright
AFP

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Relatives on Wednesday mourned the death of the newborn baby, whose mother was wounded in Sunday’s attack

Israeli security forces also announced the end of a two-month manhunt for Ashraf Naalwa, 23, who was accused of an attack at a settlement industrial park on 7 October that left two Israelis dead and another injured.

Israeli forces said Naalwa was killed as they tried to arrest him near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Hamas has said that both men were members. On Tuesday an unnamed senior IDF official told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Hamas was plotting more attacks than before.

In a separate incident, Israeli police say a third man was shot dead in Jerusalem’s Old City overnight after he wounded two Israeli officers in a stabbing. The identity of the attacker has not yet been revealed.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Palestinian health officials said a four-year-old boy had died several days after being hit with shrapnel in clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli army along the Gaza border. Israel has said it will look into the incident.






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