An Israeli woman has died and a man has been seriously wounded in a shooting attack on a car on Route 60 near the city of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank.
Israeli first responders and soldiers administered CPR at the scene but failed to revive a 40-year-old woman who has not been identified yet, local media reported. Reports also indicate that a young girl, the woman’s daughter, was present at the scene but was unharmed.
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Another Israeli, a 39-year-old man who was giving the woman and her daughter a ride, described as being in serious condition, has been transported to the trauma ward of Soroka Hospital in Bir Sheva.
Speaking after the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the attack, along with several recent ones committed against Israelis, has been funded and encouraged by Iran.
“We are in the midst of a terror attack,” Netanyahu said at the site where Monday’s shooting took place. “This terror attack is encouraged, guided, funded by Iran and its satellite states.”
Netanyahu said that Israel would employ measures to respond.
The Israeli army has set up roadblocks in the area as it searches for the suspects in Monday’s attack, and has shut down Hebron entirely.
According to Israeli Army Radio, the attackers fired 25 bullets – 22 of which hit the settlers’ car directly.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said about 30 Israelis have been killed this year.
Route 60 is the main north-south artery that runs through the occupied West Bank. Many far-right religious settlers live in illegal settlements in Hebron, which is a flashpoint for violence, Fawcett said.
This follows another shooting attack in the West Bank last week, in which two Israelis died. That incident happened in Huwara, south of Nablus and was thought to have been carried out by a Palestinian attacker.
“We’re getting reports of a pretty major military operation to try to find the shooter or shooters in the Huwara incident,” Fawcett said, speaking from West Jerusalem.
The occupied West Bank has seen heightened violence this year, the most in nearly two decades, with the Israeli army launching several high-profile incursions into Palestinian refugee camps.
“More than 180 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli raids,” Fawcett said, referring to this year to date. “There has also been a growing number of settler attacks on Palestinian communities as well, and a growing number of Palestinian attacks against Israelis too.”
In a press statement, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group said the shooting is “a natural and legitimate response to the crimes of the occupation and its settlers’ aggression against our people”.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the Hebron operation “comes within its natural context in confronting the religious war against our sanctities. The [Palestinian] resistance can strike anywhere and at any time, despite the state of security alert imposed by the occupation.”
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, an Israeli soldier was injured when an explosive device exploded near an Israeli military vehicle near Lake Tiberias, located in the southern occupied Syrian Golan Heights region.
In another development, the Israeli army said that that Iron Dome shot down two rockets coming from Gaza.
This came a day after the Israeli military also said that it shot down a Gaza drone over the area of the settlements of Alumim.
Also on Monday, Israeli forces raided the Palestinian town of Beita, near Nablus, as they searched for the attackers who carried out an attack on Saturday that killed two Israelis in nearby town of Huwara.
Eight Palestinians were shot and injured during the raid in the occupied West Bank, one of them in a serious condition, according to the acting governor of Nablus, Ghassan Daghlas.
“The shootings… show that the Israeli army has been given the green light to shoot live bullets indiscriminately,” Daghlas told Al Jazeera.
Yusuf Bani Shamsah, a 33-year-old from Beita, said he had been returning home from work when he saw heavy clashes taking place between the Israeli forces and Palestinian locals. He later rushed to help an unnamed relative who was among the injured.
“I found him on the ground and he had a head injury, the blood was pouring out,” Bani Shamsah said. “The blood is still on my hands.”