|The attacks are second since since the launch of talks between Israel and the Palestinians [AFP]|
Two Israelis have been wounded in the occupied West Bank in an attack on their car, for which the military wing of Hamas has claimed responsibility.
According to an initial investigation, shots were fired on Wednesday night from a vehicle which had overtaken the Israelis’ car as they were driving near the Jewish settlement of Rimonim, Israeli army radio said.
The wounded were a man and a woman, both civilians, an army spokesman said.
Their car was riddled with what looked like dozens of bullet holes from what the Israeli military said appeared to be a drive-by shooting.
Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh confirmed the shooting incident at Rimonim junction, east of Ramallah.
“Two Israeli settlers were injured one was seriously and one lightly and were taken to hospital. “
The attack is the second on Israeli civilians in the past 24 hours. It occurred after four Israelis were killed in a similar shooting in Hebron on Tuesday, for which Hamas also claimed responsibility.
In a statement issued in Gaza early on Thursday, Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, claimed “responsibility for the heroic operation” that took place east of Ramallah, the political capital of the occupied West Bank.
“The Ramallah operation is a message to those who promised the Zionists that the Hebron operation would not be repeated,” it said, referring to Tuesday’s deadly shooting in the southern Hebron region of the West Bank.
Israel sealed off parts of the West Bank on Wednesday while Palestinian security forces arrested scores of Hamas supporters after the four settlers were gunned down.
Israeli soldiers carried out house-to-house searches in villages in the Hebron area, near the Kiryat Arba settlement where two couples, including a pregnant woman, were killed on Tuesday.
Access routes to the city of Hebron were closed by military roadblocks.
Furious settlers vowed to flout a moratorium on settlement construction in protest at the attacks.
The main Israeli settlers association vowed it would immediately resume construction in the West Bank, which has been partly frozen for the past 10 months in a measure imposed by the Israeli government under US pressure in a bid to promote the peace talks.
The settlers did just that on Wednesday evening, laying the foundations for a sports centre at the Adam settlement, north of Jerusalem.