Two Israelis have been killed and two others critically wounded in a gun attack near a West Bank settlement.
The deaths extend a violent week that began with a shooting outside a West Bank settlement on Sunday, resulting in the death of a baby who was delivered prematurely.
Israel’s rescue service said that paramedics arrived at a bus stop on Thursday to find four “youngsters” with gunshot wounds. The shooting occurred at a location about a 10-minute drive south from Sunday’s attack.
Israeli media reported that a passing car opened fire outside the West Bank settlement.
While the West Bank experiences occasional deadly violence, often between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters, much of the Israeli-Palestinian violence in recent months has been limited to the Gaza Strip, where some 175 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in border protests.
“In recent days, we definitely feel like the situation (in the West Bank) is getting worse,” Shalom Galil, a paramedic who assisted at the scene of the shooting, said.
ZAKA volunteer Reuven Reuven: “This is a difficult, murderous attack. People were killed in cold blood by terrorists. When I arrived at the scene, I saw four people who had been shot. Two of them were in critical condition and two were taken to hospital in serious condition. After resuscitation attempts failed, the medical team was forced to declare them dead at the scene. ZAKA volunteers from the Shai district are dealing with the bodies and clearing the very difficult scene of all human remains.”
The shooting comes hours after Israeli security forces tracked down and killed a Palestinian accused of killing two Israelis.
Israeli police said Ashraf Naalweh was found armed near the West Bank city of Nablus and was killed during a raid.
Israel accuses Naalweh of shooting to death two Israelis and wounding another at an attack on a West Bank industrial zone in October. He fled the scene and Israeli forces have been searching for him since.
“Israel’s long arm will reach anyone who harms Israeli citizens,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Police said it had made a number of arrests in its attempt to hunt down Naalweh and suspected he was planning on carrying out another attack.
On Wednesday, Israeli forces killed Salah Barghouti, a Palestinian suspect wanted over a drive-by shooting earlier this week at a West Bank bus stop.
In Sunday night’s attack, assailants in a Palestinian vehicle opened fire at a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement, wounding seven people, including a 21-year-old pregnant woman, before speeding away.
The terror Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip said that both Barghouti and Naalweh were its members but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attacks the two carried out.
“The flame of resistance in the (West) Bank will remain alive until the occupation is defeated on all our land,” Hamas said.
Also on Thursday, police said an assailant stabbed two officers in Jerusalem’s Old City, leaving them with minor injuries. The officers opened fire on the attacker and he was killed, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Police identified the man as a 26-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank. It released security camera footage that shows the man lunging toward the officers and appearing to stab them.
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