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Palestinian gunmen kill Israeli man in West Bank

An Israeli man has been killed and 13 other people have been wounded in an attack by three Palestinian gunmen near an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, police and medics say.

The attackers fired automatic weapons at vehicles waiting at a checkpoint on a highway outside Maale Adumim.

Security forces and armed civilians killed two of the attackers while the third was detained, police said.

Palestinian armed group Hamas praised the attack but did not claim it.

There has been a surge in violence in the West Bank since the start of the war in the Gaza Strip, triggered by Hamas’s deadly attacks in Israel on 7 October.

At least 394 Palestinians – members of armed groups, attackers and civilians – had been killed in conflict-related incidents in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or in Israel as of Tuesday, according to the UN. During the same period, 12 Israelis, including four security forces personnel, had been killed.

Israel’s police force said Thursday’s attack took place near the al-Zaim checkpoint on Highway 1, which connects Maale Adumim with Jerusalem.

The three Palestinian gunmen arrived at the scene in two separate vehicles, armed with weapons including an M-16 rifle and a Carlo sub-machine gun. After getting out, they opened fire towards vehicles stuck in a traffic jam.

Two of the attackers were shot dead by security forces and armed civilians at the scene. The third gunman tried to escape but was “neutralised” and taken into custody.

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said paramedics found casualties in five vehicles along a 500m-long (1,640ft) stretch of the highway.

A man who was later identified as Matan Elmaliach, a 26-year-old man from Maale Adumim, died of his wounds at the scene, it said.

Thirteen other people were wounded, including a 23-year-old pregnant woman who was shot in the upper body and is in a serious condition.

 

Eight people were taken to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, and five to Shaare Zedek Hospital.

The attackers were identified as three Palestinian men, including two brothers, from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 10km (6 miles) to the southwest.

Israel’s far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, told journalists at the scene: “The enemies… want to hurt us. They hate us.”

He said authorities needed to “distribute more weapons” to Israeli civilians for protection and install more roadblocks around Palestinian communities in the West Bank, arguing that “our right to life is superior to the freedom of movement” of Palestinians.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, another far-right politician, meanwhile called for the immediate approval of plans for thousands more homes in settlements like Maale Adumim.

Israel has built about 160 settlements housing some 700,000 Jews since it occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. The vast majority of the international community considers the settlements illegal under international law, though Israel and the US dispute this.

 

Hamas called Thursday’s attack a “natural response” to Israeli “massacres and crimes” in Gaza and the West Bank and called on Palestinians to take up arms.

The shooting comes six days after a Palestinian man shot and killed two people at a bus stop near the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malakhi.

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