Israeli settler kills alleged attacker
JERUSALEM: A settler killed a suspected attacker in the occupied West Bank on Friday after a gunman wounded three people in Tel Aviv as a surge in Israeli-Palestinian violence shows no sign of abating.
Tensions remained high a day after Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin called for a de-escalation during a visit to Israel ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in March and the Jewish holiday of Passover in April.
But within hours of his appeal, a member of the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas opened fire outside a Tel Aviv cafe, injuring three people before being shot dead by police.
The shooting took place Thursday night on Dizengoff Avenue, a popular nightlife spot in Israel’s commercial capital, where three people were killed in a Palestinian attack in April 2022.
“I heard gunshots and saw people running away,” David Friedman, a police officer who helped shoot the attacker, told AFP, adding that he “ran toward the scene.”
“I fired three rounds at him, (a fellow officer) also fired three rounds and when he fell he was shot again so he wouldn’t get up again,” he added.
On Friday morning, an Israeli settler shot dead an armed Palestinian attacker in the northern West Bank settlement of Dorot Illit, the Israeli military said.
The West Bank, occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War, is home to hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers living in state-sanctioned settlements deemed illegal under international law.
“A terrorist armed with knives and explosives arrived in the area of Dorot Illit” before the settler spotted the attacker, opened fire and “neutralized” him, it said, later confirming he had been killed.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified him as Abd al-Karim al-Sheikh, 21.
The day after the Tel Aviv shooting, one of the injured remained in critical condition, the hospital where he is being treated said.
– USA ‘worried’ by settler violence –
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he had ordered the immediate demolition of the Tel Aviv attacker’s home in Nilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Such demolitions come as part of a longstanding policy to punish the families of Palestinians who kill Israelis.
Austin was holding talks in Israel hours after three suspected Palestinian militants were killed in the West Bank and protesters demonstrated against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government.
Islamic Jihad and Hamas vowed to avenge the dead.
Violence has intensified over the past year but has intensified in the West Bank during the tenure of Netanyahu’s government, which took office in December, a coalition of ultra-Orthodox Jews and far-right allies.
The government of Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, has vowed to continue expanding settlements in the West Bank.
About 230,000 Israelis live in annexed East Jerusalem, along with at least 360,000 Palestinians who want to make the sector the capital of their future state.
But Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have stalled since 2014.
Austin said in a joint news conference with Gallant on Thursday that the US commitment to Israel’s security is “iron-clad.”
But the US “remained firm against any actions that could trigger more insecurity, including settlement expansion and incendiary rhetoric,” he said, adding, “We are particularly concerned by settler violence against Palestinians.”
Thousands of Israelis opposed to the Netanyahu government’s controversial law reform plans had blocked roads in and around Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, forcing a last-minute change in the venue for Austin’s talks.
The new law aims to limit the powers of the Supreme Court and give politicians greater powers to choose judges, raising concerns it threatens Israel’s democracy.
Since the beginning of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 77 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians.
Twelve Israeli civilians, including three children, and a police officer, and a Ukrainian civilian were killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official sources from both sides.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch