JERUSALEM (AFP): Israeli forces on Tuesday arrested two Palestinians suspected of shooting dead an Israeli settler near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, where violence has surged since early last year. Batsheva Nigri, 40, was killed on Monday in a drive-by shooting while traveling in a car with her daughter and a man near Hebron, in the second attack targeting Israelis in the territory within days.
Her daughter was unhurt but the man was wounded and was in serious condition, the Israeli army and medics said.
Two Palestinian residents of Hebron suspected of being the perpetrators of the shooting were arrested, the army said, after roads in the vicinity of the attack were blocked and a large manhunt was conducted.
On Tuesday also Israeli security forces stormed into a town the northern West Bank, leading to fighting that killed a 17-year-old Palestinian, according to Palestinian health officials, the latest violence to grip the occupied territory.
The Israeli military conducted an arrest raid before dawn in the town of Zababdeh south of Jenin, local medics said. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that 17-year-old Othman Abu Kharj was fatally shot in the head. The raid came as Israeli security forces were still searching for the Palestinian gunman that carried out a shooting in the northern Palestinian city of Hawara that killed an Israeli father and son on Saturday.
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the raid in Zababdeh.
The two Palestinians arrested on Tuesday related the the women killing were questioned according to the army this morning, “During their initial questioning, the two linked themselves to carrying out the attack,” the army said in a statement, adding they had turned in the weapon allegedly used in the attack.
Nigri was a teacher and resident of Beit Hagai, an Israeli settlement south of Hebron.
The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, had called her killing a “heroic act” and a “normal response” to settlement projects.
The attack came two days after an Israeli father and son were shot dead at a car wash in the town of Hawara in the West Bank.
Israel has yet to make any arrests in that case despite a search operation that has seen troops raid villages and carry out house-to-house searches.
There has been a surge in violence in the West Bank since early last year, with a string of attacks by Palestinians on Israeli targets, repeated deadly Israeli army raids and violence by Jewish settlers against Palestinian communities.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War, when it also seized the Gaza Strip but withdrew from it in 2005.
Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the West Bank is home to nearly three million Palestinians and around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.
At least 218 Palestinians have been killed so far this year in violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Some 31 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have also been killed, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides.
They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.