West Bank on edge after Israeli father, son shot dead


3:45PM AUGUST 20, 2023 (The Australian)

( https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/west-bank-on-edge-after-israeli-father-son-shot-dead/news-story/bec63ce0a3fc52f517612f6ed771030e )

Israeli troops launched a manhunt on Saturday after a father and son were shot dead at a car wash in the disputed West Bank amid an upsurge of bloodshed in the territory.

“A suspected shooting attack was carried out at a number of Israeli civilians in the area of the town of Huwara,” an army statement said, adding that two civilians had been killed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the two men killed were an Israeli “father and son”, and added security forces were “operating forcefully to track down the murderer and bring him to justice just as we have done with all such murderers until now”.

In a statement, the Magen David Adom emergency service said it had been called to a car wash in the Palestinian town of Huwara shortly after 3pm.

An Agence France-Presse correspondent saw streaks of blood on the floor of the car wash, as Israeli police and soldiers gathered at the scene.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that the army had closed key entrances to the main northern West Bank city of Nablus, and soldiers were forcing businesses to close as they searched for the suspected attackers.

The Islamist Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, said the attack was a response to Israeli actions.

Spokesman Abdul Latif al-Qanou said it was the “result of the resistance’s continuous promise to defend our people and respond to the crimes of the occupation”.

The West Bank has suffered a surge in violence since early last year, with a string of attacks by Palestinians on Israeli targets, repeated Israeli army raids and violence by Jewish settlers against Palestinian communities.

Earlier on Saturday, a Palestinian died from wounds sustained during an Israeli raid on the Balata refugee camp near Nablus last week.

On Thursday, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian militant during a raid in Jenin, also in the northern West Bank.

Huwara, just south of Nablus, has seen a number of attacks on Jewish settlers or the Israeli military since early last year.

Settlers have responded with revenge attacks on the town and surrounding villages, in which one Palestinian has been killed and 30 homes and more than 100 vehicles set on fire. Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Peace Now said the settler violence that followed a February attack in which two settlers were killed amounted to a “pogrom”.

The army said the settlers had carried out “actions of terrorism”, as did the US State Department in an unusual departure from diplomatic protocol.

At least 218 Palestinians have been killed in violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year. Some 30 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have also been killed, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides. They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.

Israel captured the West Bank during the Six-Day War of 1967. Excluding east Jerusalem, the territory is home to nearly three million Palestinians and around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.


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