Israeli wounded in shooting in occupied West Bank

Israeli wounded and soldiers returned fire, wounding a Palestinian gunman, who was arrested, according to the Israeli army.

The Israeli Ambulance and Rescue Service said a 30-year-old man was injured when the vehicle he was traveling in came under fire in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Sunday.

The Israeli military said it received a report of a “shooting incident” in Huwara, a town that has been subject to Israeli military raids and ransacking by settlers in recent weeks.

Israeli doctors said a man was shot in the upper body and seriously injured, while his wife suffered minor injuries.

The Israeli army said soldiers or one of the wounded shot at the suspected Palestinian shooter, who was later arrested by Israeli forces. His condition was not immediately clear.

The shooting came as Israeli and Palestinian officials held talks in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh seeking to restore calm after a spike in deadly violence in the West Bank and ahead of a sensitive holiday period beginning this week.

Last month, a Palestinian sniper killed two Israeli settlers crossing Huwara. This was followed by a rampage by Israeli settlers who killed a Palestinian and burned dozens of homes and cars.

Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich also said Huwara must be “annihilated”, in remarks widely condemned.

The Israeli-occupied West Bank has seen an upsurge in clashes in recent months, with near-daily military raids and escalating settler violence.

Israeli settler-related violence targeting Palestinians has reached its highest level since 2006, the United Nations told Al Jazeera.

A daily average of three violent incidents per day was recorded in 2023, compared to two incidents per day in 2022 and one incident per day in 2021.

Sunday’s meeting is the second attempt by the parties, backed by regional allies Egypt and Jordan as well as the United States, to end a year-long eruption of violence that has seen more than 200 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire and over 40 Israelis and three Ukrainians killed in Palestinian attacks.

Over the past year, Israeli forces have also made thousands of arrests in the West Bank.

The continued deadly military raids have raised questions about the prospects for holding meetings between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which governs limited parts of the West Bank.

The previous meeting in Jordan late last month ended with an agreement aimed at defusing tensions. It was quickly derailed by several new outbursts of violence, including an Israeli raid in Nablus that killed 11 Palestinians, making expectations for the second installment low.

Sunday’s shooting further reduced those expectations. Still, mediators want to ease tensions ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is due to begin this week and coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover next month.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no mention of the summit during his weekly cabinet meeting.

Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh tweeted on Saturday that the meeting was aimed at “demanding an end to this continued Israeli aggression against us.”


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