A Palestinian attacker has opened fire at a gas station near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, killing at least four people and wounding several others, Israeli medics have said, as violence continued to roil the occupied territory.
Israeli security forces said they shot the gunman and were still searching for other attackers near the settlement of Eli north of the Palestinian city of Ramallah. Palestinian media reported that the attacker’s driver had fled the scene.
The condition of the attacker was not immediately clear. Photos circulated of a man lying bloodied and face-down in the street beside an automatic rifle.
The Israeli rescue service said it had evacuated two seriously wounded men, aged 20 and 38, to nearby hospitals for treatment. It said that four more people had been wounded at the scene, and three of them were unconscious. The identities of the victims were not immediately clear.
Tuesday’s shooting followed a deadly Israeli military raid into the northern West Bank Jenin refugee camp on Monday that triggered the fiercest fighting in years, killed six Palestinians and wounded dozens more. In a rare move, the Israeli military deployed helicopter gunships as its forces cleared the area to evacuate wounded soldiers who had been stranded in broken military vehicles after Palestinian militants targeted them with powerful roadside bombs.
Late on Monday night, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man whom they alleged had thrown a firebomb at troops along a West Bank highway in the Palestinian town of Husan, west of Bethlehem. The Palestinian health ministry identified the man killed as 21-year-old Zakaria al-Zaoul.
Israel and the Palestinians have been gripped by months of violence, focused mainly in the West Bank, where at least 126 Palestinians have been killed this year. Palestinian attacks against Israelis have killed at least 20 people this year.
Also on Tuesday, 48-year-old Amjad Abu Jaas died from critical wounds sustained in Monday’s gun battle in Jenin, Palestinian health officials said. His death brought to six the number of Palestinians killed during the raid, with more than 90 wounded, a dozen of those critically. Eight Israeli soldiers were also wounded.
Israel has been staging near-nightly raids in the West Bank in response to Palestinian violence early last year. Palestinian attacks against Israelis have surged during that time. Israel says most of the Palestinian dead were militants, but stone-throwing young people protesting against the incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future independent state.