Gunman kills 2 Israelis in West Bank town, in latest shooting amid spate of violence


(JTA) — A gunman shot and killed two Israelis driving through a West Bank town.

The Israelis were driving Sunday through Hawara, a town near the northern West Bank of Nablus, reports said. The two were in their 20s, and the shots were fired from a passing car, Israel’s government-run Kan broadcaster said.

Haaretz quoted local sources as saying that the shooter was wearing a shirt with the emblem of the Lion’s Den group of militants. The group was established last year in Nablus as Israel intensified deadly raids in the West Bank in the wake of a series of Palestinian stabbing attacks on Israelis inside the country’s internationally recognized borders.

Violence between Israel and the Palestinians has increased in the last year, including since the November election of a right-wing government led by Benjamin Netanyahu.

The killings Sunday bring to 13 the number of Israelis killed in 2023, all but one of them civilians. More than 60 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli raids in the West Bank in the same period. Israel says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants, but the dead include a number of civilians. Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip and is considered a terrorist group by Israel and the United States, praised the attack.

The Israeli army closed off roads leading into Hawara and is searching for the shooter and checking security cameras from stores along the road, which serves as a thoroughfare for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank.