A Palestinian opened fire on a Israeli military checkpoint in East Jerusalem on Saturday night, killing an Israeli female soldier and wounding three others, Israeli authorities said.
The attack came hours after a pair of Palestinian teenagers were killed during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank.
It was the latest bloodshed in the deadliest round of fighting in the area in seven years. It also came less than 24 hours before Israel began celebrating the Sukkot holiday, a week in which tens of thousands of Jews visit the holy city.
The shooting on Saturday night occurred at a checkpoint near the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem. Police said the assailant got out of a car and opened fire, seriously wounding the female soldier and a security guard before running towards the camp. The army announced early Sunday that the woman, who was 19, had died.
Police said two members of the border police paramilitary unit were slightly injured by shrapnel.
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Police said they were searching for the attacker, with special forces and a helicopter involved in the search. Police said earlier Sunday that they had arrested one person on suspicion of involvement in the attack, but were continuing the manhunt.
“Our hearts tonight go out to the injured and their families,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said. “Terrorism will not defeat us. We are also strong on this difficult night.”
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Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed the area in a move that is not recognized internationally. It considers the entire city, including East Jerusalem, home to the city’s most important holy sites, its capital. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
Israel has already been making daily arrests in the occupied West Bank since a series of deadly Palestinian attacks inside Israel. Most of the military activity has focused on the Palestinian cities of Jenin and Nablus in the northern West Bank.
Earlier Saturday, the Israeli army shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers during an arrest raid in the Jenin refugee camp, the site of repeated clashes between Israeli forces and local gunmen and residents. The camp is known as a stronghold for Palestinian militants.
Palestinian officials said the soldiers entered the camp early Saturday morning and surrounded a house. In videos broadcast on social networks, exchanges of gunfire can be heard. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported two deaths and 11 injuries, three of them seriously.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the dead as Mahmoud al-Sous, 18, and Ahmad Daraghmeh, 16.
The Israeli army said it had arrested a 25-year-old operative from the Islamic Jihad militant group who had previously been imprisoned by Israel. He said the man had recently been involved in shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers.
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He said soldiers opened fire during the raid as dozens of Palestinians threw explosives and shot at them.
Just before noon, Israeli forces withdrew from the area.
The killing came a day after two Palestinian teenagers, aged 14 and 17, were killed by Israeli gunfire in separate incidents elsewhere in the occupied West Bank. Human rights groups accuse Israeli forces of using excessive force in their dealings with Palestinians, without being held accountable. Says the Israeli army. open fire only in life-threatening situations.
Israel says it is being forced to take action because the Palestinian security forces, which are coordinating with the military in a tense alliance against Islamic militants, are unable or unwilling to crack down. Palestinian security forces say the military raids have undermined their credibility and public support, especially in the absence of any political process. The last round of substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks ended in 2009.
Israel says most of the dead were militants. But local youth protesting the raids, as well as some civilians, have also been killed in the violence. Hundreds have been arrested, many of them placed in so-called administrative detention, which allows Israel to hold them without trial or charge. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting this year.
The violence is also fueled by growing disillusionment and anger among Palestinian youth at the tight security coordination between Israel and the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority, which are working together to stop the militants.
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UN Envoy for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland he said he was alarmed by the increasing bloodshed. “The growing violence in the occupied West Bank is fueling a climate of fear, hatred and anger,” he said in a statement, calling on the parties to de-escalate tensions and take steps to revive the political process.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war and 500,000 Jewish settlers now live in some 130 settlements and other outposts among nearly 3 million Palestinians. The Palestinians want that territory, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, for their future state.