Two Israelis killed in occupied West Bank

AFP , Sunday 26 Feb 2023

Two Israelis were killed Sunday, an Israeli government statement said after a fatal shooting in the occupied West Bank.

west bank, palestine
Israeli security forces block a road while others tow a car at the site of an attack in which two Israelis were killed in Hawara town, in the occupied West Bank on February 26, 2023. AFP


The incident is the latest in escalating violence in the West Bank, which saw the most Palestinians killed last year since at least 2005. It has continued since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power in December.

A joint statement from Netanyahu and his national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, confirmed: "two Israeli civilians were killed in a Palestinian terror attack".

The shooting targeted a car on the main thoroughfare through Huwara, a town near Nablus in the northern West Bank.

A spokesperson for the Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency response service told AFP two wounded were transferred to the hospital but subsequently pronounced dead.

The Israeli occupation military said soldiers were "pursuing the terrorists and are blocking the area" around the scene. An AFP photographer saw Israeli security forces deployed along the road and searching vehicles.

The shooting came after Israeli occupation forces launched their deadliest West Bank raid on Wednesday in nearly 20 years, leaving 11 Palestinians dead and more than 80 with gunshot wounds in Nablus.

Hamas called Sunday's shooting “a natural reaction” to Israeli incursions into Palestinian areas of the West Bank and resulting deaths.

“The resistance in the West Bank will remain present and growing, and no plan or summit will be able to stop it,” said spokesman Hazem Qassem.

It came as Israeli-Palestinian talks took place in Jordan aimed at quelling a surge in West Bank violence.

Orit Strock, a settler and government minister, called for the "immediate return of the Israeli delegation" from the meeting in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba.

Ben-Gvir is one of two Netanyahu coalition partners with a history of inflammatory remarks about Palestinians and who have been given critical powers regarding the West Bank, where the government has vowed to continue Israeli settlement expansion.

The West Bank is home to about 2.9 million Palestinians as well as an estimated 475,000 Israeli settlers who live in state-approved settlements considered illegal under international law.

Last week, Israeli officials approved the building of over 7,000 new illegal outposts in the occupied West Bank, according to activist groups that attended the planning meeting.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Since the start of this year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 62 Palestinian adults and children.

This year's intensifying unrest has sparked international concern and calls for de-escalation.


**This story was edited by Ahram Online

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