© Reuters. Israeli troops stand guard at a shooting scene, in Huwara, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, March 19, 2023. REUTERS / Mohamad Torokman
By Raneen Sawafta
HUWARA, West Bank (Reuters) – A Palestinian gunman opened fire on an Israeli couple in their car on Sunday, injuring the man, in a West Bank town where a similar shooting last month prompted Israeli settlers to lash out violently .
Israeli officials said the wounded Israeli and soldiers at the scene returned fire, wounding the shooter, who was pursued by troops and captured.
The incident came as Israeli and Palestinian officials held US-backed talks in Egypt aimed at calming months of violence.
It took place in Huwara, where last month a gunman from the Islamist militant group Hamas opened fire on a car killing two Israeli settlers, also coinciding with a day when Israeli and Palestinian officials held de-escalation talks.
Settlers responded to last month’s incident by burning homes and cars and killing a Palestinian in a rampage described by a senior army commander as a “pogrom”.
The Israeli Ambulance Service said it treated a man shot dead in Huwara during Sunday’s incident. A paramedic, among the first to arrive at the scene, told Israel Radio that an Israeli was injured while sitting in his car with his wife.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and also has a presence in the West Bank, denounced the Israeli-Palestinian de-escalation talks that took place last month in Jordan and on Sunday in Egypt. He said Sunday’s attack was a natural response to the Israeli occupation, although he did not claim responsibility.
The Hamas gunman held responsible for last month’s attack was killed by Israeli forces during a raid on the refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin earlier this month.
The West Bank has seen a wave of clashes, with near-daily military raids and escalating settler violence amid a spate of attacks by Palestinians. Sunday’s talks were aimed at avoiding further incidents when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins later this week.
Over the past year, Israeli forces have made thousands of arrests in the West Bank and killed more than 200 Palestinians, including fighters and civilians, while more than 40 Israelis and three Ukrainians have died in Palestinian attacks. .