Two Israelis killed in West Bank car wash shooting

Two Israelis killed in West Bank car wash shooting
The shooting occured in the town of Huwara in the occupied West Bank.
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Israeli forces take security measures after two Israeli settlers died due to a shooting attack in Huwara. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Two Israelis were killed in a suspected shooting in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the army and medics said.

"A suspected shooting attack was carried out at a number of Israeli civilians in the area of the town of Huwara," an army statement said, adding that two people had been killed.

In a statement, the Magen David Adom emergency service said it had been called to a car wash in the Palestinian town of Huwara shortly after 3:00 pm (1200 GMT).

An AFP correspondent saw streaks of blood on the floor of the car wash, as Israeli police and soldiers gathered at the scene.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that the army had closed key entrances to the main northern West Bank city of Nablus, and that soldiers were forcing businesses to close as they searched for the suspected attackers.

Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif al-Qanou said the attack was the "result of the resistance's continuous promise to defend our people and respond to the crimes of the occupation."

The West Bank has seen a surge in violence since early last year, with a repeated Israeli army raids and violence by Jewish settlers against Palestinian communities.

Earlier Saturday, a Palestinian died from wounds sustained during an Israeli raid on the Balata refugee camp near Nablus earlier this week.

On Thursday, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian militant during a raid in Jenin, also in the northern West Bank.

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History of violence 

Huwara, a Palestinian town just south of Nablus, has seen a number of attacks on Jewish settlers or the Israeli military since early last year.

Settlers have responded with revenge attacks on the town and surrounding villages, in which one Palestinian has been killed and 30 homes and more than 100 vehicles set on fire.

Israeli human rights groups B'Tselem and Peace Now said the settler violence that followed a February attack in which two settlers were killed amounted to a "pogrom". The army said the settlers had carried out "actions of terrorism".

At least 218 Palestinians have been killed in violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year.

Some 30 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have also been killed, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides.

They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Excluding occupied east Jerusalem, the territory is home to nearly three million Palestinians and hundreds of thousands of Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.