16 July 2023

Two girls among injured after Palestinian gunman opens fire on car in West Bank

16 July 2023

A Palestinian gunman opened fire on a car in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, injuring three Israelis, including two girls, Israeli authorities said.

The suspect fled the scene of the shooting, but he was later captured.

The bloodshed is the latest in a relentless cycle of violence that has gripped the region, driving up the death toll and sparking the worst fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank in nearly two decades.

The Israeli military said the gunman opened fire on a car from a passing vehicle.

Israel’s rescue service, MDA, said three Israelis were injured in the attack near the Jewish settlement of Tekoa, including a 35-year-old who suffered gunshot wounds and is in a serious but stable condition.

Two girls, aged nine and 14, were hurt by flying debris.

The military said that forces apprehended the suspected gunman in the city of Bethlehem and seized his car and an assault rifle found inside. Troops arrested two other suspects, the army said.

Fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank intensified early last year when Israel launched near-nightly raids into Palestinian areas in the West Bank in response to a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis.

The violence has surged this year, with more than 150 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023 in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a tally by the Associated Press.

Israeli says most of those killed have been militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting at the raids and others not involved in the confrontations have also been killed.

At least 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis during that time.

Israel says the raids are essential to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks.

The Palestinians see the violence as a natural response to 56 years of occupation, including stepped-up settlement construction by Israel’s government and increased violence by Jewish settlers.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.

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