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Palestinian motorist kills two Israeli soldiers near Jenin

Israel's defence minister calls for executing the attacker and demolishing his family's home
Israeli military spokesman says attack was "deliberate" (AFP)

A Palestinian motorist rammed and killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded two others in the occupied West Bank on Friday, the Israeli military said.

The army said the driver ran over soldiers stationed near the illegal Jewish settlement of Mevo Dotan, west of the Palestinian town of Jenin.

Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said on Twitter that the attack was "deliberate".

The attack came 100 days after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital. 

The motorist was detained, treated in an Israeli hospital for injuries and was being questioned, the military said.

Israel's Shin Bet security agency identified him as Alaa Kabha from the village of Barta, near Jenin.

It said that Kabha had previously been imprisoned for "security offences" and had been released in April 2017. Palestinian media reports said he was 26.

Israeli military authorities in the West Bank swiftly announced the "immediate and broad suspension" of all permits for the family of the Palestinian driver.

A military spokesman said these included 71 employment permits and 26 trade permits.

Rights groups have in the past denounced measures taken against families of Palestinian attackers as "collective punishment".

An Amnesty International report released earlier this year said that Israel, "collectively punished the families of Palestinians who had carried out attacks on Israelis, by demolishing or making uninhabitable their family homes, forcibly evicting approximately 50 people" in 2017.

Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Twitter: "We will act to secure the death penalty for the terrorist, for the demolition of his home and for the punishment of anyone who collaborated."

Hamas welcomed the ramming attack, but did not claim responsibility for it.

Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that it took place 100 days after Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on 6 December.

Another Hamas official, Fawzi Barhoum, lauded the "hero of the Jenin attack" and said it showed that Palestinians were willing to "continue the path of resistance, using all its tools to protect themselves against the occupation".

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