JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (all times local):
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the latest round of violence in the West Bank, criticizing both militant attacks and the tough Israeli response.
Abbas’ office issued a statement on Thursday, shortly after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israelis near a West Bank settlement, accusing Israel of creating a “climate” conducive to violence through its frequent military operations in Palestinian cities.
Abbas also accused Israel of incitement against him.
His statement says that “the absence of the horizon of peace is what led to this series of violence, which we condemn and reject, and for which both sides pay a price.”
The statement also added: “Our permanent policy is to reject violence, incursions and terror of the settlers, and the need to stop incitement and not to create an atmosphere that contributes to the aggravation of the situation.”
Israel has sealed off major roads leading to the West Bank city of Ramallah and set up checkpoints in search of a gunman who earlier in the day carried out a deadly shooting attack nearby.
The Israeli military declined to comment on the measures, saying only it had sent reinforcements to the area.
A Palestinian gunman opened fire on a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement on Thursday, killing two Israelis and wounding another two.
The unusual measure to clamp down on Ramallah, the Palestinians’ economic and administrative hub, reflects the severity with which Israel views an uptick in violence this week in the West Bank.
Thursday’s shooting comes after Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian suspected of a drive-by shooting at a West Bank bus stop on Sunday, in which a baby delivered prematurely as a result of the attack died.
The head of Israel’s medical rescue service says two Israelis have been killed and two wounded in a shooting attack near a West Bank settlement.
Eli Bin, the head of Israel’s Magen David Adom service, told Israeli Army Radio that two people were dead following Thursday’s shooting. He says another two, a man and woman, were critically wounded and were being taken to hospital. Their identities were not immediately known.
The Israeli military had no immediate additional details.
The incident comes as Israeli troops ended a two-month manhunt for a Palestinian wanted in the killing of two Israelis at a West Bank industrial zone in October.
On Wednesday, Israel also killed a Palestinian suspect accused of staging a shooting attack in the West Bank earlier this week.
Israeli police say security forces tracked down a Palestinian accused of killing two Israelis and shot and killed him, following a two-month manhunt.
Police say Ashraf Naalweh was armed when he was found and that he was killed during the arrest raid early on Thursday near the West Bank city of Nablus.
Naalweh fled the scene of a West Bank industrial zone in October after shooting to death two Israelis. Israeli forces have conducted a widespread manhunt for him since.
On Wednesday, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian suspect wanted in a drive-by shooting at a West Bank bus stop, shooting him just hours after an Israeli baby delivered prematurely as a result of the weekend attack died.
The militant Hamas group that rules Gaza said both men were its members.