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West Bank: One Israeli killed and two injured in shooting near settlement

Gunmen said to have fired at the Israelis' car as they were leaving a Jewish seminary in the illegal outpost of Homesh
Members of the Israeli security forces and forensic experts inspect the car in which three Israelis came under gunfire (AFP)

Unidentified gunmen shot three Israelis in a car near an illegal settler outpost in Homesh in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, killing one of them. 

An Israeli military spokesman said the vehicle had been fired upon as they were leaving a Jewish yashiva, or seminary, in the outpost, northwest of the Palestinian city of Nablus.

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The Samaria Regional Council said in a statement that the man killed was Yehuda Dimentman, who lived in the nearby Shavei Shomron settlement. It said Dimentman, 25, studied at the yeshiva in Homesh.

Hundreds of mourners attended Dimentman's funeral procession on Friday

Haaretz reported that the Israel army had taken several suspects into custody overnight following searches of Palestinian villages in the northern West Bank.

The Israeli newspaper said a new outpost had been erected near Kiryat Arba called Nofei Yehuda, named after the man shot.

Palestinians attacked

Tension between Palestinians and settlers, police and soldiers mounted in the aftermath of the attack.

The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that settlers attacked the village of Burqa near Homesh, shooting towards residents.

Haaretz said a Palestinian couple were evacuated overnight to hospital after they were attacked at the entrance to their home in Qaryut.

Wail Mohammed Makbal, 55, and his wife Samiha, 46, said settlers had knocked on their door claiming to be soldiers and then attacked them and vandalised their home, Haaretz said. The couple were taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.

There were also scuffles on Friday between Palestinians and police in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Haaretz quoted Brigadier General Avi Blut as saying that the Israeli military planned to boost forces in the West Bank with three infantry battalions, as well as special forces units, following the attack.

Ten rounds fired

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Amnon Shefler said more than 10 rounds were fired at the vehicle on Thursday. Shefler told reporters the three Israelis studied at the Homesh yeshiva.

A medic for the United Hatzalah rescue service said: "I gave first aid on the scene to a person who was critically wounded by gunfire, and to two additional wounded people who were conscious."

The Israeli settlement of Shavei Shomron is built next to the Palestinian village of Naqoura, northwest of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank (AFP)
The Israeli settlement of Shavei Shomron is built next to the Palestinian village of Naqoura, northwest of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank (AFP)

Haaretz cited the Magen David Adom emergency service as saying the three Israelis were all in their 20s and that the two injured passengers in the vehicle were wounded by broken glass.

The Homesh settler outpost was established without government permission and its residents were evacuated in 2005.

However, Haaretz reported that settlers frequent the spot and operate the Homesh yeshiva, which in practice serves as an outpost, with yeshiva students moving between it and the nearest settlement, Shavei Shomron.

Ongoing violence

Thursday's incident comes a few days after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man in the city of Nablus following a raid on his home, while two other Palestinians were wounded after being run down by an Israeli military vehicle, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

Last week, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian and wounded 70 others in Beita, a village in Nablus, during a protest against Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

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Earlier in December, Israeli security forces shot dead a Palestinian man in occupied East Jerusalem after he allegedly stabbed an Israeli civilian.

Meanwhile, a 15-year-Palestinian girl attempted to stab a 25-year-old Israeli woman in Sheikh Jarrah earlier this month.

After the attack, Israeli forces stormed two schools in East Jerusalem and arrested Nifuz Hammad in a classroom, along with another female student, a teacher and the headmistress.

The Hammad family, it has subsequently been revealed, faces Israeli eviction orders from their home to make way for Israeli settler groups.

Palestinian and Israeli media reported that the Israeli woman was a settler living in a house close to the Hammads in Sheikh Jarrah, a significant flashpoint in East Jerusalem.

Excluding occupied East Jerusalem, about 475,000 Israeli settlers live in fortified communities in the occupied West Bank, which is home to more than 2.8 million Palestinians.