Two Israelis were killed in a Palestinian drive-by shooting attack in the occupied West Bank on Sunday amid surging violence in the region, Israeli sources said.
Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency service said in a statement that the two individuals were in their 20s and had sustained fatal gunshot wounds. They were taken to a hospital in Israel, where they were later pronounced dead.
The Israeli army said in a statement that a Palestinian in a passing vehicle opened fire on the two Israelis while they were sitting in a car near the Hawara checkpoint, south of the Palestinian city of Nablus.
A large-scale manhunt was launched after the suspects fled the scene. “IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers are pursuing the terrorists and are blocking the area,” the statement read.
The Hebrew-language Haaretz newspaper quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the shooter was a Palestinian man wearing a shirt of the “Lion’s Den,” a militant group that emerged over the past year and is quickly gaining popularity.
On Wednesday, 11 Palestinians were killed and at least 102 others injured in an Israeli military raid in Nablus. At least three of the victims were members of the Lion’s Den and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another armed group. The raid, one of the deadliest in the West Bank in recent years, led to vows of revenge by the Palestinian groups.
The incident came amid surging violence in the West Bank, a territory seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel has kept its control over these lands, which the Palestinians claim for their future country. ■