Palestinians target Israelis in two separate West Bank attacks

Three Israelis were killed Sunday afternoon and three were wounded, one seriously, when Palestinians opened fire on a hitchhiking station at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, south of Jerusalem, the Zaka rescue service said. Shortly after the initial attack, Palestinians opened fire again near the settlement of Eli, also in the West Bank, seriously wounding one Israeli. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah movement, took responsibility for both of the attacks. The Gush Etzion shooting was carried out by Palestinian gunmen traveling in a speeding car. The gunmen apparently escaped to the West Bank city of Bethlehem. „A Palestinian passed by in a car, let off a burst of fire, and struck down people standing at the hitchhiking post,” Shaul Goldstein, a settler leader in Gush Etzion, told Israel Radio. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah movement, took responsibility for both of the attacks. Magen David Adom emergency rescue personnel rushed to the scene of the Gush Etzion attack from Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, Israel Radio reported. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the „tunnel road” between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion was closed to traffic. The victims were transferred to Hadassah University Hospital in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Karem. It was not immediately clear whether the casualties were civilians or soldiers. The Sunday attacks were the bloodiest assault in the West Bank since Israel completed its pullout from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank last month. Israeli security officials have warned that following the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Palestinian militants would shift their activities to the West Bank. David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister’s Office, denounced the shooting. „As part of a series of humanitarian gestures, Israel removed roadblocks and eased up on the Palestinians,” he told Haaretz. „The Palestinians have nonetheless exploited these measures, which has led to these murderous attacks.” The settlers’ Yesha Council demanded in response to the shooting that the government and Israel Defense Forces close all West Bank routes to Palestinian traffic. They said the roads had been opened even though this posed a potential security threat to Israelis, Army Radio reported.
BPI-info