Israeli forces kill Palestinian suspect in deadly attack

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a deadly stabbing-and-shooting attack in the occupied West Bank two days earlier.

The assailant was killed after he opened fire at Israeli forces who had come to arrest him, the Israeli Shin Bet security service said on Tuesday. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed a person had been killed in the clash, but provided no further details.

In what appeared to be a separate incident, the Palestinian health ministry said two more Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Raid Hamdan, 21, and Zaid Nouri, 20, died after being shot late Tuesday by Israeli troops near the Joseph Tomb’s religious site close to the Palestinian city of Nablus, it said.

The Israeli army said in a statement explosives were hurled from a vehicle as Jewish worshippers visited the site late on Tuesday and “troops responded with live fire towards the vehicle”.

The site has long been a source of tension in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Fatal stabbing

On Sunday, a suspected Palestinian assailant fatally stabbed a soldier at an intersection on a busy West Bank highway and opened fire at the scene using the conscript’s rifle, killing an Israeli rabbi and wounding a second soldier.

Israel‘s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the site of the attack on Monday and pledged tough action, including the demolition of the assailant’s home. “These terrorists will not uproot us from here,” he said.

Palestinians – many without links to armed groups – carried out a wave of attacks in the West Bank in late 2015 and 2016 but the frequency of such incidents has since decreased.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

Relatives arrested

The Palestinian attacker was identified by Israeli authorities as Omar Amin Abu Laila from the West Bank town of Az-Zawiya.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the army had arrested some of Abu Laila’s relatives on Monday.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, praised the West Bank attack as a “natural response to crimes committed by the Israeli occupation”.

The attack came after two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces last week in separate West Bank incidents.

On Thursday, two rockets from Gaza were fired towards Tel Aviv in a rare attack into the heart of Israel that looked to set the sides into another round of escalation.

Hamas denied Israel’s accusation it was behind the rocket fire. However, Israel went on to target several sites belonging to Hamas’ military wing in Gaza with about 100 missiles.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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