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Palestinian gunmen kill four Israelis in West Bank in response to Israeli raid in Jenin

Palestinian gunmen kill four Israelis in West Bank in response to Israeli raid in Jenin
June 21, 2023 Web Desk

NEAR ELI SETTLEMENT, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian gunmen shot dead four Israelis near a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday in an attack the militant Hamas group said was a response to a raid by Israeli forces in the flashpoint city of Jenin.

Four other people were wounded when the gunmen opened fire at a roadside restaurant and a gas station by Eli settlement, emergency services said, and the fatalities included at least one minor.

The Israeli military said it was boosting forces in the West Bank after the attack.

The Islamist Hamas group said the two gunmen were members of its armed wing. One was shot dead by a civilian at the scene and the second by Israeli security forces who tracked him down after he fled the area, authorities said.

The West Bank has seen a sharp increase in violence over the past 15 months with stepped-up Israeli army raids amid a spate of Palestinian street attacks and Israeli settler aggression.

Tuesday's shooting took place a day after an hours-long gunbattle between Palestinian fighters and Israeli troops backed by helicopter gunships in nearby Jenin, a stronghold of armed Palestinian groups.

Six Palestinians were killed and more than 90 wounded and seven Israeli personnel were also wounded during one of the most intense clashes in the West Bank in months.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and has a network of fighters across the West Bank, described the attack as a 'heroic' response to Monday's Israeli operation in Jenin and said it may be followed by more actions against Israelis 'that will shatter their fragile state and turn the lives of their soldiers and settlers into a nightmare'.

Residents and a local official in the nearby Palestinian village of Huwara said that Israeli settlers set fire to a car and torched fields in the area, in an apparent retribution for the attack.