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Israeli man killed in West Bank after shooting attack on car

<i>Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>An Israeli man has died in a shooting in the West Bank
AFP via Getty Images
Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images
An Israeli man has died in a shooting in the West Bank

By Andrew Carey, CNN

An Israeli man has died in a shooting in the West Bank, according to the Israeli army and emergency responders.

An unknown assailant, or assailants, opened fire on a car near the settler outpost of Homesh, about 20 kilometers (approximately 12 miles) to the northwest of Nablus, an army spokesman said. Two others were wounded in the attack.

Two emergency responders from the Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency service, who were among the first on the scene, said they found a man in the back seat of the car, “unconscious with gunshot wounds to his body.”

He has been named by the Yesha Council settler organization as 25-year-old Yehuda Dimentman, who lived in the Shavei Shomron settlement, near Homesh, with his family.

“Together with an IDF medical team we gave him advanced and prolonged resuscitation treatment at the end of which we were forced to determine his death. The driver of the vehicle and another passenger were fully conscious and … suffering from minor injuries from the broken glass,” they said.

The wounded were taken to hospital where their condition is mild, the MDA responders said.

Homesh is what Israel calls an illegal outpost, a West Bank settlement that has been established without government approval. Under international law all settlements, whether established with Israeli government approval or not, are considered illegal. Israeli disputes that characterization.

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz expressed his condolences and vowed that those responsible would be caught. “We will increase our vigilance and readiness to thwart terror,” he said in a statement.

Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, praised the attack as a “heroic operation,” as did another militant faction, Islamic Jihad, though neither made a claim of responsibility.

In a call with reporters Thursday evening, Israeli army spokesman Amnon Shefler said it was still unclear whether any one particular group had carried out the shooting.

Shefler said more than 10 bullets had been fired at the car from the side of the road but added it was unclear whether the shooting was the work of a single gunman, or multiple attackers.

Thursday’s attack is the latest in a series of violent incidents to unfold across the West Bank and in Jerusalem in recent months, prompting memories of 2015/16, a period dubbed the “knife intifada” that saw hundreds of violent events take place in a roughly six-month period.

Last month, an Israeli tour guide was killed, and four other people were wounded, when a Hamas gunman opened fire in Jerusalem’s Old City.

In addition, a number of Israeli civilians and security forces have been wounded in at least five stabbing attacks in Jerusalem since September, according to police. Earlier this month, a Palestinian schoolgirl was held on suspicion of stabbing an Israeli woman walking her children to school in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where tensions earlier this year over possible eviction of Palestinian families from their homes triggered weeks of unrest.

In another incident two weeks ago, close to the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City, video shows a man pulling out a knife and lunging at an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man crossing the road behind him. Police officers were criticized for their response after they shot the perpetrator multiple times as he lay on the ground, while apparently incapacitated. At least five Palestinian suspects have been shot dead by security forces in Jerusalem in the last four months.

And in the West Bank, an Israeli security guard at a checkpoint near the town of Tulkarem was wounded when a 15-year old Palestinian drove a car into a concrete building in a suspected ramming earlier this month, according to the Israeli army. The driver of the car was shot dead.

Army spokesman Shefler admitted there had been an uptick in recent violence but that he did not believe it was right to say that a “new wave” of attacks was underway.

Even so, in an indication of how violence between Israelis and Palestinians can spiral quickly, a few hours after the Homesh shooting, a group of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian villagers in Qaryut, south of Nablus, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Among the wounded was a 62-year man, Wael Muqbel — pictures released by the Palestinian Red Crescent showed him with severe bruising to the face. The assailants also damaged homes and vehicles, Wafa says.

Israeli media are describing it as a possible ‘price tag’ attack, the name given to violent acts by settlers in the wake of Palestinian violence, or government policy deemed detrimental to the settler cause.

Data from both Israel and the United Nations shows acts of settler violence in the West Bank are increasing. The UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recorded 418 such attacks in the first 10 months of 2021 (up from 358 for the whole of 2020) including more than 100 against individuals.

Visiting US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland raised the issue in recent talks with Israel’s Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev, according to a tweet from the Minister after the meeting.

Meanwhile, there is also mounting concern over a rise in the number of attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recorded 418 such attacks in the first 10 months of 2021 (up from 358 for the whole of 2020) including more than 100 against individuals.

Visiting US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland raised the issue in recent talks with Israel’s Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev, the Minister tweeted.

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