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Two Israelis killed in West Bank shooting in suspected copycat attack

Israeli forces and forensic experts inspect the site of a gun attack at Asaf Junction in the West Bank on December 13, 2018
Ahmad GHARABLI (AFP)
It is the second of its kind this week, after an earlier attack left a newborn baby dead and seven injured

At least two young men in their 20s were killed following a shooting incident at a bus stop at the West Bank outpost of Givat Assaf.

The army confirmed there were two casualties and at least two people seriously injured after a gunman opened fire at a bus stop where a group of Israeli soldiers and settlers were present.

Two young men were reported to be in critical condition and were evacuated to a nearby hospital in Jerusalem. One woman was moderately injured.

The attack took place near the Ofra settlement where earlier this week a Palestinian gunman opened fired at a bus stop, injuring seven and killing a newborn baby who was delivered after his mother was shot.

Overnight, two Palestinian terror suspects were killed by Israeli security forces operations in the West Bank, including the suspected Ofra attacker and the Barkan assailant who killed two of his coworkers in October.

In a briefing the IDF confirmed that they were working on the assumption that there was one attacker and one driver. The attacker disembarked from the vehicle and fired at the group of Israelis.

The vehicle then fled towards Ramallah. In response, the IDF has stepped up their army presence in the West Bank, blocking all entrances and exits to Ramallah. Jaafar ASHTIYEH (AFP)

IDF said their primary objective was to find the attacker or attackers and they have enhanced military presence in order to conduct defensive and offensive positions to protect Jewish communities in the area.

The army spokesperson was unable to confirm reports circulating that the two dead Israelis were soldiers, or that the assailants had targeted Israeli soldiers.

Hamas welcomed the attack shortly afterwards, threatening “the enemy can dream of stability and security.”

"There are many other things in our pocket that can harm the enemy and disrupt all its plans,” Hamas said. “The occupier will still taste the despair of the people of the West Bank.”

In a press release, Hamas claimed the two suspects killed by Israeli raids overnight were both members of the militant group. 

On Thursday, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah denounced Israel's killing of the Palestinian assailants, calling on the international community to intervene to condemn "Israeli aggression."



Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's office also released a statement following the IDF operation that killed Barghouti and Na'alwa. 

"The atmosphere of the IDF's entry into the Palestinian territory and the lack of a horizon for peace have led to a chain of violence whose cost is paid by both sides" the Palestinian leader said. 

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