A Palestinian assailant opened fire at an Israeli military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Saturday before being shot and killed, Israeli police said, the latest incident in months of escalating violence.
The Palestinian gunman approached Israeli troops stationed at the Qalandiya checkpoint outside Jerusalem early in the morning, pulled out an M16 rifle and opened fire, the Israeli police said.
Israeli security forces said they shot back, killing the suspected assailant. According to the Israeli rescue service, two security guards in their 20s were hospitalised with minor wounds — at least one from bullet fragments. There was no immediate word on the attacker's identity.
The shooting caps a bloody week in the West Bank that left 15 Palestinians and four Israelis dead.
An hourslong gun battle between Israeli security forces and Palestinian militants in the northern Jenin refugee camp killed seven Palestinians and wounded eight
Israeli soldiers earlier this week. Two Palestinian gunmen then killed four Israeli civilians before being shot and killed.
Then, a rare Israeli airstrike by a pilotless drone killed three Palestinian militants in a car while Israeli settler revenge attacks left one Palestinian dead, many wounded and a trail of destruction through Palestinian towns.
The spiralling violence has increased pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right government, with its hard-liners calling for a broad military operation against Palestinian militants, as well as on the Palestinian Authority, which has come under criticism for failing to protect Palestinian civilians.
This year has been one of the deadliest for Palestinians in the West Bank in years. At least 136 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank so far in 2023, according to a tally by The Associated Press, nearly half of them affiliated with militant groups. As of Saturday, 24 people on the Israeli side have been killed in Palestinian attacks, most of them civilians.
Israel says most of the Palestinian dead this year were militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future independent state.