Israeli-American shot dead in West Bank amid heightened tensions
An Israeli-American man was shot dead by Palestinian gunmen in a drive-by shooting attack in the West Bank as retaliatory unrest intensifies.
Jerusalem: An Israeli-American man was shot dead by Palestinian gunmen in a drive-by shooting attack in the West Bank as retaliatory unrest intensifies.
In a statement, the Israeli military said that the assailants on Monday night opened fire at an Israeli car near the Palestinian city of Jericho in the southern West Bank and hit the driver, reports Xinhua news agency.
The perpetrators fled the scene, the statement said, adding that “soldiers are conducting searches and setting up roadblocks and checkpoints in the area”.
Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue service said that the 27-year-old driver sustained fatal gunshot wounds and was rushed to a hospital with cardiopulmonary resuscitation in progress.
He later succumbed to his injuries.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides confirmed in a tweet that the victim was an American citizen.
In a tweet, he said: “Sadly, I can confirm that a US citizen was killed in one of the terror attacks in the West Bank tonight. I pray for his family.”
The incident took place a day after hundreds of Jewish settlers embarked on the worst spree of violence over the past years.
State-run Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that the settlers torched at least 40 homes, vandalised dozens of shops and cars, and killed sheep in the town of Hawara and three other towns in the area of Nablus city.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said on Sunday that a 37-year-old Palestinian man was killed by a gunshot, apparently fired by an Israeli soldier, and numerous others were injured.
The rampant attacks came hours after a Palestinian opened fire from a passing car at Israelis near Hawara, killing two brothers.
The Israeli army said it was beefing up its forces in the West Bank with four battalions, amid prospects of further escalation of violence.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he held the Israeli government fully responsible for what he called “the terrorist acts carried out by Israeli settlers, under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces”.
On his part, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed for calm and urged settlers to allow the military and security forces to focus on finding the gunman who killed the two Israelis.
“I ask that when blood is boiling and the spirit is hot, don’t take the law into your hands,” he said in a video statement.
Since the start of this year, more than 60 Palestinians — militants and civilians — have been killed by Israeli forces.
On the Israeli side, 14 people have been killed in attacks — all civilians, except for a paramilitary police officer.
More than 600,000 Jews live in 140 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.
Most of the international community considers the settlements illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.