Two Israelis shot dead in West Bank by suspected Palestinian gunman

NEAR HUWARA, West Bank, Aug 19 (Reuters) – A suspected Palestinian gunman shot dead two Israelis in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the Israeli military said, in a flashpoint area that has seen escalating violence for months.

The two men, a father and son, were shot at close range at a car wash in the Palestinian village of Huwara, according to Israel’s public broadcaster Kan.

The Israeli military said it was searching the area for the assailant and had set up roadblocks in the vicinity of the attack. Israel’s ambulance service confirmed two people had died in the shooting.

The area of Huwara in the northern West Bank has been the scene of previous deadly attacks on Israelis and retribution assaults by Jewish settlers against Palestinians, including a rampage in that village in February.

Violence in the West Bank has worsened over the past 15 months with frequent Israeli raids and Palestinian street attacks.

Prospects of reviving U.S.-brokered peace talks that aimed to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, remain dim almost a decade after their collapse.

Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war and has since built dozens of settlements there that are considered illegal by most countries, a view Israel disputes, with its military in full control of more than half the territory.

The Palestinians have limited self-rule in the West Bank and remain split between a Western-backed administration and armed Hamas Islamists who reject coexistence with Israel, while many in Israel’s current government reject Palestinian statehood.

Hamas and other armed groups praised the Huwara attack on Saturday.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem, Raneen Sawafta near Huwara and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Toby Chopra and David Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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