Two Israeli settlers killed, one critically injured in WB shooting

At least two Israeli settlers are killed and another is seriously wounded after they came under a shooting attack in the northern part of the West Bank. It comes amid growing tensions across the occupied Palestinian territories after Israeli forces violently stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and attacked Palestinian worshipers.

The attack targeted a car on Friday near the illegal Israeli settlement of Hamra in the West Bank’s northern Jericho governate.

The attack came hours after Israeli missile attacks on Lebanon and Gaza.

“A shooting attack was carried out on a vehicle at the Hamra Junction. IDF [Israeli army] soldiers are searching the area,” Israel’s military announced.

The Israeli army set up checkpoints to inspect cars on the main roads at an intersection near the illegal Israeli settlement of Hamra in the northern Jordan valley where the incident took place.

“Soldiers are blocking routes adjacent to the scene of the shooting attack. A pursuit after the terrorists has begun,” the Israeli military said.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said two women in their 20s were killed and a third in her 40s was seriously wounded.

The medics stated that they pulled the three unconscious women out of their car, which had apparently crashed after gunmen opened fire at it from a nearby vehicle.

The Israeli police commissioner, Yaakov Shabtai, has called on all Israeli citizens to carry their firearms in the wake of the shooting.

“This is a murderous attack that reminds us how relevant the threat of terrorism is in its various forms,” Shabtai stated.

“Therefore, alongside our operations and that of the security forces in all sectors, I call on every citizen who has a licensed firearm and is skilled in operating it legally – to carry it these days,” he added.

The Israeli army’s chief of staff, Herzl Halevi, has also ordered the mobilisation of Israeli reserve forces, with an emphasis on air defenses and the Air Force reserves.

Halevi’s decision came after he convened a situation assessment meeting following the escalation of tensions on Israel’s borders and the deadly shooting attack in the occupied West Bank, reported Israeli media.

Halevi ordered the strengthening of defense efforts in the army’s central command and the continuity of a search operation for the perpetrators behind the deadly shooting, an Israeli army spokesperson said.

The shooting follows months of heightened violence in the occupied West Bank.

Attacks have surged to record heights there in recent months, with Palestinian health officials reporting the start of 2023 to be the most deadly for Palestinians in at least 20 years.

Nearly 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank since the start of the year. During that time, 16 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

The escalation in tensions comes after Israeli troops stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on successive days this week, firing stun grenades and attacking Palestinians as they gathered for Ramadan prayers.

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