A Palestinian gunman on Monday shot and killed an Israeli motorist in the occupied West Bank, the latest bloodshed in a fresh wave of fighting that showed no signs of slowing. The killing occurred a day after two Israelis were killed by a Palestinian gunman in the northern West Bank, triggering a rampage in which Israeli settlers torched dozens of cars and homes in a Palestinian town. It was the worst such violence in decades, the AP reports. The Israeli army said Monday's attackers opened fire at an Israeli car near the Palestinian city of Jericho, hitting the motorist.
The assailants, traveling in one vehicle, then drove farther and fired again, the army said. The attackers set their own vehicle afire and fled, setting off a manhunt. The 27-year-old Israeli motorist died at a hospital of his injuries, a spokeswoman said. Earlier, Israel sent hundreds more troops to the northern West Bank to restore calm in response to Sunday's violence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, the most right-wing in Israel's history, came under criticism for its failure to halt a surge in violence and for sending what some saw as mixed messages. As Netanyahu appealed for calm, a member of his ruling coalition praised the rampage as deterrence against Palestinian attacks. An opposition lawmaker condemned it as a "pogrom by armed militias" of West Bank settlers.
The events underscored the limitations of the US approach to the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Washington has been trying to prevent escalation while staying away from the politically costly task of pushing for a resolution of the core disputes. As the violence raged in the West Bank, such an attempt at conflict management was taking place Sunday in Jordan, with the US bringing together Israeli and Palestinian officials to work out a plan for de-escalation. So far this year, 62 Palestinians, about half of them affiliated with armed groups, have been killed by Israeli troops and civilians. In the same period, 14 Israelis, all but one of them civilians, have been killed in Palestinian attacks.
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