Two Israelis wounded by bullets in West Bank, one in critical condition

Two people were wounded by Israeli gunfire on Sunday in Huwara, a Palestinian town north of the occupied West Bank, Magen David Adom (MADA), the Red Cross’s Israeli counterpart, told AFP on Sunday.

In a statement, the Israeli army said that “a terrorist (had) opened fire on an Israeli vehicle, killing two civilians” in Huwara.

At the spot, “we found two injured people, one of them in critical condition, with injuries on upper body and (another), a woman in a state of panic. We gave them first aid and evacuated them Ambulance,” said Tomar Finn, one of the rescuers, in a video released by MADA.

According to the army, the attacker was “retaliated with live ammunition by soldiers (…) and one of the two injured civilians against (him) and wounded (him)”.

The attack comes on the same day of Israeli-Palestinian talks in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh in the presence of Egyptian, Jordanian and US mediators.

Without claiming responsibility for the attack, Hamas and Islamic Jihad called it in separate statements – but in similar language – Israel’s “normal response to the crimes of the occupation”.

Two Palestinian movements have said they oppose Sunday’s talks aimed at restoring peace just days before the start of Ramadan, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plunges into a new cycle of violence since the start of the year. The West Bank is a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

An Israeli soldier in position after a gunshot attack that wounded two Israelis in Huwara, a Palestinian town in the northern occupied West Bank, on March 19, 2023 (AFP – Jafar Ashtiyeh)

On 26 February, while a similar meeting was taking place in Aqaba, Jordan, two Israelis, residents of a nearby settlement, were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman in an attack on their car in Huwara, an armed wing. Was a member of Islamic movement Hamas.

Following the 26 February attack, dozens of Jewish settlers attacked Huwara, burning cars and buildings.

In the aftermath, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for Huwara to be “annihilated”. Mr Smotrich’s comments had provoked angry reactions in Washington, Paris or the United Nations, prompting the far-right minister to admit he had “chosen his words poorly”.

Since the beginning of the year, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 86 Palestinians (including minors from armed groups and civilians), 12 civilians (including three minors) and one Israeli policeman, as well as one Ukrainian. According to an AFP tally compiled from official Israeli and Palestinian sources.

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