Sunday, June 23, 2024

Four Israeli settlers killed in West Bank shooting

At least four Israeli settlers have been killed and four others wounded in a shooting near an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Four people were confirmed dead and four others were wounded, two seriously, on Tuesday in the attack near the illegal Eli settlement, in the northern West Bank, the Magen David Adom emergency services said in a statement.

One of the gunmen was shot dead at the scene and Israeli forces later killed the second suspect near Nablus after he fled in a taxi. The Israeli military said a civilian “neutralised” one gunman.

The Israeli military announced the gunmen arrived by car and opened fire on a restaurant, and then targeted the petrol station.

The Palestinians were identified as Mohannad Faleh Shhadeh and Khaled Mostafa Sbah – both from the village of Urif near Nablus.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an “urgent security consultation”. His far-right allies have been calling for a large-scale military operation in the occupied West Bank for months now.

Netanyahu later issued a threat of a violent response.

“We have proven in recent months that we take revenge on all murderers, without exception. Whoever harmed us will either end up in the grave or in prison. This is what will happen in this case as well,” he stated.

The incident comes a day after six Palestinians were killed in Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank during a large-scale Israeli military incursion. At least 91 people were wounded during the nine-hour raid.

Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for Hamas, the group that governs the besieged Gaza Strip, described Tuesday’s shooting as a “response to the crimes of the [Israeli] occupation” in Jenin and elsewhere.

Hamas later said one of the shooters was a member of its armed wing.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also commended the attack, saying it was a natural response to growing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

The armed group said it considered the shooting to be part of Palestinians’ “legitimate right to exercise self-defence”.

Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, house between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite Palestinians seeking the land as part of a future state.

Earlier on Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Israel to immediately “cease all settlement activities” in occupied Palestinian territory, describing Israel’s plans to advance the building of settlements as driving “tensions and violence” and being a major obstacle to a lasting peace.

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