Palestinian gunman kills 2 Israelis in attack on West Bank gas station
Israeli army troops consult after a terrorist attack at a gas station adjacent to the West Bank settlement of Eli, Feb. 29, 2024. (Photo:IDF)

By Ron Kampeas
February 29, 2024

(JTA) — A gunman believed to be a Palestinian police officer killed two Israelis at a West Bank gas station.

One of the victims in the terror attack in the central West Bank settlement of Eli was a 17-year-old boy, and one was a man aged 57, according to Kan radio, Israel’s public broadcaster. Kan reported that the owner of a hummus eatery attached to a gas station emerged and shot the terrorist dead.

The attack Thursday comes nine months after Palestinian gunmen killed four Israelis at the same gas station, as well as a week after a shooting attack at a West Bank checkpoint that killed one Israeli. It also came shortly after more than 100 Palestinians died in Gaza on Thursday in unclear circumstances that saw a stampede surrounding the delivery of aid and Israeli gunfire into the crowd.

United Hatzalah, an Israeli volunteer first responder service, said it treated people for shock at the scene in Eli but was unable to assist the two shooting victims. “When we arrived at the location of the incident, the scene was extremely difficult,” volunteer Eitan Friedman said in a statement. “Unfortunately, two people had to be pronounced dead at the scene due to the severity of the injuries they sustained.”

The army in a statement said its troops were sweeping the area around in pursuit of others who may have participated in the attack. The owner of the hummus restaurant said he came out of his restaurant as soon as he heard gunshots. “I signaled to the terrorist to come toward me and I shot him,” the owner told Kan.

Kan, citing Israeli security and Palestinian security forces, said the gunman was an officer in the Palestinian Authority police, a force that has worked with Israel to keep a lid on violence in the West Bank while the Gaza war continues to rage.

The attack, coming just days after the resignation of the P.A.’s prime minister and much of his government, signals that the West Bank  could be on the verge of a spike in violence . For two years, the territory has seen a string of deaths in Palestinian terror attacks and Israeli military raids on suspected terrorists.

More than two decades ago, the joining of Palestinian security officers to terror groups soon after the Second Intifada began in 2000 led to bloody fighting that lasted for years. For well over a decade, however, P.A. forces have coordinated with Israel to combat terror activity in the West Bank, including during wars in Gaza.

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