Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Ofra Shooting Suspect


Two people have reportedly been killed and two others injured in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank near Givat Asaf, close to Ramallah.

Initial reports said that an armed Palestinian opened fire, from a passing vehicle, targeting a group of Israeli soldiers, who were setting up a flying checkpoint at the entrance of the illegal settlement of Ofra.

The other Palestinian killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday night had been suspected of shooting dead two Israelis in October.

Earlier, Israeli military forces put the town of al-Bireh near Ramallah under siege and stepped up arrests of Palestinians in the West Bank.

Two Israeli police officers were stabbed in Jerusalem and neutralised the attacker with return fire, the law enforcement agency's press service said.

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Muqbil Barghouthi, a relative of Saleh's, told Middle East Eye that witnesses had seen a van with Palestinian licence plates following Saleh's taxi and that he had been shot at without warning, leading them to believe he was being targeted by undercover Israeli forces.

A baby who was delivered prematurely to an Israeli woman wounded in the Ofra shooting died in hospital on Wednesday, officials said, just hours before Barghouti was shot. The attack is the second deadly shooting in less than a week.

A Palestinian driver who attacked a different bus stop in Ramallah later on Thursday was also shot dead, according to Israeli media.

The Shabak said they arrested additional suspects from the attack during the operation.

A four-year-old Palestinian boy has died after being injured during clashes between the Israeli army and protesters along the Gaza border, the health ministry in Gaza said, making him the youngest victim of scores killed since weekly protests began in March.

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The Palestinian gunman fled the scene, Israel said.

"It is a part of the new initiative of (Hamas) that made a decision to open a new front in the West Bank after a period of time that they got to the conclusion they will ease down their efforts from the Gaza Strip", Barak Ben-Zur said.

Palestinian attacks against Israelis occur sporadically in the West Bank.

Speaking Wednesday evening before Barghouti was killed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed those who carried out the drive-by shooting would be found and brought to justice.

On 4 December, Mohammed Ihbali, 22, was shot in the head and killed during an overnight army raid in the Palestinian city of Tulkarem.

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"The flame of resistance in the (West) Bank will remain alive until the occupation is defeated on all our land", Hamas said. It released security camera footage that shows the man lunging toward the officers and appearing to stab them.