JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (all times local):
Israel’s prime minister has ordered a number of security measures in the West Bank in response to a Palestinian shooting attack that killed two Israeli soldiers.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says he has ordered the expedited demolition of attackers’ homes within 48 hours, increased detentions of Hamas militants in the West Bank and a beefing up of Israeli forces in the region.
He also ordered additional security on roadways and increased checkpoints.
In an announcement Thursday, Netanyahu’s office says he also decided to legalize thousands of existing settlement homes in the West Bank that he says were built in “good faith” but whose status is unclear.
Speaking at a military ceremony, Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel suffered a “tough blow” with Thursday’s West Bank shooting.
“We will settle the score with whoever did this,” he said. “Our guiding principle is that whoever harms us or tries to harm us will be held responsible.”
The Israeli army says forces shot and killed a Palestinian man near the West Bank city of Ramallah after he attempted to ram his car into them Thursday, lightly injuring one soldier.
The incident comes after a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement, killing two Israeli soldiers and injuring two others. The army has launched a manhunt for the assailant, sealing off the main roads to Ramallah, setting up checkpoints around the city and boosting military forces across the West Bank.
Israeli troops also shot and killed a Palestinian suspected of a drive-by shooting at a West Bank bus stop on Sunday, in which a baby delivered prematurely as a result of the attack died.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the latest round of violence in the West Bank, criticizing both militant attacks and the tough Israeli response.
Abbas’ office issued a statement on Thursday, shortly after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israelis near a West Bank settlement, accusing Israel of creating a “climate” conducive to violence through its frequent military operations in Palestinian cities.
Abbas also accused Israel of incitement against him.
His statement says that “the absence of the horizon of peace is what led to this series of violence, which we condemn and reject, and for which both sides pay a price.”
The statement also added: “Our permanent policy is to reject violence, incursions and terror of the settlers, and the need to stop incitement and not to create an atmosphere that contributes to the aggravation of the situation.”
Israel has sealed off major roads leading to the West Bank city of Ramallah and set up checkpoints in search of a gunman who earlier in the day carried out a deadly shooting attack nearby.
The Israeli military declined to comment on the measures, saying only it had sent reinforcements to the area.
A Palestinian gunman opened fire on a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement on Thursday, killing two Israelis and wounding another two.
The unusual measure to clamp down on Ramallah, the Palestinians’ economic and administrative hub, reflects the severity with which Israel views an uptick in violence this week in the West Bank.
Thursday’s shooting comes after Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian suspected of a drive-by shooting at a West Bank bus stop on Sunday, in which a baby delivered prematurely as a result of the attack died.
The head of Israel’s medical rescue service says two Israelis have been killed and two wounded in a shooting attack near a West Bank settlement.
Eli Bin, the head of Israel’s Magen David Adom service, told Israeli Army Radio that two people were dead following Thursday’s shooting. He says another two, a man and woman, were critically wounded and were being taken to hospital. Their identities were not immediately known.
The Israeli military had no immediate additional details.
The incident comes as Israeli troops ended a two-month manhunt for a Palestinian wanted in the killing of two Israelis at a West Bank industrial zone in October.
On Wednesday, Israel also killed a Palestinian suspect accused of staging a shooting attack in the West Bank earlier this week.
Israeli police say security forces tracked down a Palestinian accused of killing two Israelis and shot and killed him, following a two-month manhunt.
Police say Ashraf Naalweh was armed when he was found and that he was killed during the arrest raid early on Thursday near the West Bank city of Nablus.
Naalweh fled the scene of a West Bank industrial zone in October after shooting to death two Israelis. Israeli forces have conducted a widespread manhunt for him since.
On Wednesday, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian suspect wanted in a drive-by shooting at a West Bank bus stop, shooting him just hours after an Israeli baby delivered prematurely as a result of the weekend attack died.
The militant Hamas group that rules Gaza said both men were its members.
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