Israeli killed in West Bank shooting

10:29, December 25, 2009      

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An Israeli man was killed in a shooting incident in the West Bank Thursday afternoon, and Israeli security forces have launched a massive manhunt for the attackers who are yet to be identified.

The victim in his 30s was driving alone near a settlement in the northern part of the West Bank when he was shot in the head and lost control of the vehicle, which then flipped into a roadside ditch, according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and local media reports.

Medical rescuers who rushed to the scene conducted emergency treatment, but failed to save the man.

Security personnel dispatched to the scene sealed off the spot and nearby area. "The IDF soldiers are currently searching the area of the incident in order to find those responsible for the shooting. Road blocks have been erected in the area and comprehensive security checks have been implemented at all of the relevant crossings," said the military.

The Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported that the Imad Mughniyeh Group, affiliated to Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, has claimed responsibility for the shooting. Yet the credibility of the claim is at question.

During the past few years, the West Bank has largely been quiet. The Jewish state has gradually eased traffic limitations on Palestinians, which enabled the Palestinian economy to develop at a faster pace.

Yet violent attacks and clashes still took place sporadically between some 300,000 Jewish settlers living in the West Bank and local Palestinians. Late last month, a Palestinian man lightly wounded two Israelis at a West Bank gas station before he was shot and critically injured by an Israeli soldier. Earlier this month, a group of radical Jewish settlers vandalized a mosque in an Arab village, setting books and furniture on fire.

In addition, some 180,000 Jews are now dwelling in East Jerusalem, the Arab-dominated section of the holy city, which Israel captured in 1967 and later annexed. Yet the Palestinians want to establish a state comprising the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem being the capital.

Source: Xinhua

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