Two Israeli settlers killed in West Bank shooting, days after Israeli raid kills 11 Palestinians
The incident took place in Huwara, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, just days after a massive Israeli military raid into Nablus in search of wanted militants left at least 11 Palestinians dead.
The settlers killed on Sunday were named as Hillel Menachem Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaakov Yaniv, 19, the local settler council said.
“Details of the funerals will be announced later. We embrace the family and will be with them as much as necessary,” the Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council said. They were from the settlement of Har Bracha, council leader Yossi Dagan said.
Video from the scene showed that their car had crossed a central reservation, and hit a car going the other direction, suggesting they were shot while driving.
The Israel Defense Forces said earlier that a “terrorist arrived to the Einbus junction and opened fire towards an Israeli vehicle.”
The two Israeli men were taken to a hospital after the attack, the IDF said, but they later died, the Magen David Adom medical agency said. The IDF added that it was pursuing the attacker.
Another local settler leader said he was present when the two were shot.
“The shooting took place right behind me. It looked terrible — the shooting was from point blank range,” said Shai Alon, the head of Beit El council, adding that Israel needed to “go to war against those who wish us harm.”
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Lion’s Den had vowed revenge after Wednesday’s raid in Nablus.
Six of those who died there were members of the Palestinian militant group, which emerged in the city last year.
“As big as the pain filling Nablus, the occupation will taste twice the pain,” the group said, referring to Israel. “They will know that the fighters of the honorable groups in Nablus will not take a step back.”
Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, called after Sunday’s killings for Israel to break off ongoing security talks between Israel and the Palestinians brokered by Jordan, Egypt and the United States, saying: “I demand that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and all the ministers return the delegation from the idle talks in Aqaba…. We need to launch an operation against terrorism!”
Israel and the Palestinian Authority confirmed earlier Sunday that they were in five-party talks in Jordan on the heels one of the most violent starts to a year in two decades. Egypt and the United States are participating along with the Jordanian hosts.
An Israeli official said the participants “will discuss ways to calm security tensions in the region ahead of the month of Ramadan,” which begins in March.
The Israeli delegation includes National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi; the head of the Shin Bet Ronan Bar; the coordinator of government operations in the territories Major General Rasan Elian, and the director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ronan Levy, the source said, asking not to be named discussing diplomatic negotiations.
The high-level Palestinian delegation “will stress the need to stop all Israeli unilateral actions and abide by the signed agreements,” the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported Sunday.
Hamas, the Palestinian militant movement that governs Gaza, condemned the Palestinian Authority’s participation, calling it a “fruitless move.” A Hamas statement urged the PA “irrevocably end security coordination” with Israel, which the Palestinian Authority officially broke off in January after and Israeli raid into Jenin that left 11 Palestinians dead.
Lion’s Den and the Palestinian National Initiative, an independent political party, also urged the PA not to participate.