| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Palestinian gunman kills Israeli soldier in West Bank

The military reported that a Palestinian shooter killed an Israeli soldier on Thursday in the occupied West Bank neighborhood of a settlement. The terrorist Hamas group claimed responsibility for the murder, which it claimed was retaliation for a two-day Jenin operation this week.

The Israeli military reported that the shooter opened fire at security personnel who had stopped to check his car by the Kdumim settlement near the Palestinian city of Nablus.

He then fled the scene before he was tracked down and “neutralized,” the military said. Hamas claimed him as a member and confirmed his death.

“The heroic operation comes as a quick response to the occupation’s aggression against our people in Jenin camp,” Hamas’s armed wing Izzeldeen Al-Qassam Brigades said.

Israel’s two-day operation in nearby Jenin was its biggest in the West Bank in years, as escalating violence has caused increasing international alarm.

The Israeli military said the operation targeted infrastructure and weapons depots of militants. At least 12 Palestinians, most confirmed as militant fighters, and one Israeli soldier were killed.

The incursion, which began with drone strikes on Monday, followed by a sweep involving more than 1,000 Israeli troops, left a trail of wrecked streets and burned-out cars and sparked fury across the Arab world.

Israeli Settler leaders, who have strong representation in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nationalist-religious government, have called on authorities to crack down further on Palestinian militants in the area.

“The operation in Jenin was great but it is a drop in the ocean. We need to be inside those cities -inside Jenin, inside Nablus day and night. There are so many gunmen, so many militants there,” said Kdumim resident Ozel Vatik.

Violence in the West Bank has worsened over the past 15 months, with increased Israeli raids, Palestinian street attacks and settler rampages in Palestinian villages.

U.S.-brokered peace talks, aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, collapsed in 2014 and show no sign of revival.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who lives in Kdumim, said he would hasten existing plans for a new neighbourhood in the settlement in response to the attack.

Most countries deem Israel’s settlements in the territory it captured in the 1967 war as illegal, a view Israel disputes. Palestinians say their expansion denies them a viable state.

Hamas said in its statement that the attack was also a message to Smotrich that “Qassam Brigades almost knocked at your door.” Smotrich replied on Twitter that he was not afraid and will keep working “to enable the Israel Defence Forces to destroy you.”

  • Reuters