The Israeli military shot and killed two Palestinians who allegedly opened fire at troops from their car in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, authorities said, the latest incident in a wave of deadly violence gripping the occupied territory.
The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the two men killed in the West Bank village of Deir al Hatab as Saud Abdullah Saud and Mohammed Abu Dira, without saying their ages.
The Israeli military said the men shot at an Israeli outpost near the settlement of Elon Moreh, south of the Palestinian city of Nablus. Israeli soldiers on patrol opened fire, killing the two alleged gunmen.
Palestinian media reported that a third gunman was in the car during the drive-by shooting and fled the area. Israeli security forces said they were searching for other suspected assailants and found a pair of M-16 rifles and a pistol at the scene.
The local armed group of the Balata refugee camp, a militant stronghold near Nablus, identified the two men as militants, sharing photos of them brandishing M-16s in the camp. Saud had previously spent 15 years in Israeli prison, the group said.
“We fought as soldiers and we promise we will always be soldiers,” Saud said in a video after being freed from prison last spring.
Tuesday’s deaths followed a week of unusually heightened violence in Israel and the West Bank, touched off by an Israeli police raid on Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, the compound home to the Al-Aqsa mosque. Last week, the Israeli military struck sites linked to the Palestinian group Hamas in southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip after militants in the two territories fired salvos of rockets at Israel. The mosque sits on a contested hilltop revered as the third-holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism.
Underscoring the ever-combustible situation in the West Bank, two British-Israeli sisters and their mother were killed when their car came under fire near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank last Friday. The mother, Lucy Dee, succumbed to her wounds on Monday and was laid to rest in the settlement of Kfar Etzion south of Jerusalem on Tuesday. Hundreds of mourners packed the funeral, singing and swaying as Lucy’s husband, Leo, and his remaining children wept at the podium — their family of seven reduced to four.
“Lucy, I have a choice: I could lament over the next 25 years of marriage that I’ve lost, but I actually feel blessed to have had 25 years of a beautiful marriage with you,” Leo said, his voice cracking in anguish.
He added: “If we support the good and reject the evil, then we can all play our part in building a better world.” (PBS)