At least seven Israeli settlers, including six soldiers, have been injured after armed attackers opened fire on a bus in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli medics said shooting occurred near Route 90 in the Jordan Valley, northeast of the occupied West Bank on Sunday, adding that the injured have been evacuated by helicopter, including one soldier who is in critical condition.
The Israeli military said it apprehend two Palestinians suspected of carrying out the attack, and guns were found lying on the dirt road nearby. The two suspects were arrested after their vehicle caught fire while escaping. The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear.
A third suspect reportedly managed to flee, and a manhunt has been launched to capture him.
Hamas: West Bank operation reaction to Israel’s crimes
Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Qanu reacted to the shooting operation in the West Bank, calling it a “heroic” operation.
Qanu said the operation that targeted Israeli soldiers and settlers was a reaction to the occupying regime’s crimes and its acts of aggression against al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinian prisoners.
“We salute those revolutionary youth, who carried out this special operation, thus highlighting our people’s ability to continue resistance across the West Bank,” he said.
The recent development comes as Israeli forces continue their near-daily raid-and-arrest operations in various parts of the West Bank, wounding or killing Palestinians. Such raids are carried out while Israeli settlers also conduct acts of violence against Palestinians and their property.
Settler violence is rampant in the occupied Palestinian territories. The acts of violence and vandalism, known as price tag attacks which are committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property, have risen in recent years.
However, Israeli authorities rarely prosecute Israeli settlers for their assaults on Palestinians and their property and the vast majority of the files are closed due to deliberate police failure to investigate properly.
Many Palestinians have also sustained injuries or lost their lives in incidents due to allegations that they attempted stabbing or car-ramming attacks against Israeli settlers and forces.
As many as 74 Palestinians, including 37 Palestinian children, have been killed so far this year, many as a result of the use of lethal force by the Israeli authorities in a manner described by the UN Human Rights Office in the Occupied Territories as a violation of international human rights law.
Tel Aviv has been criticized for its extensive use of lethal force and extrajudicial killing of Palestinians who do not pose an immediate threat to its forces or to settlers.
Israeli troops have on numerous occasions been caught on camera, brutally killing Palestinians, with the videos going viral online and sparking international condemnation.
The Israeli regime occupied the West Bank in 1967 before starting to dot the Palestinian territory with illegal settlements and severely restricting the Palestinians’ freedom of movement there.