Ramallah: Israeli forces on Monday shot and killed two young Palestinians who carried out a car-ramming attack in the occupied West Bank, injuring a soldier and a policeman, police and the army said.
The army said security forces fired at three assailants, “neutralising two of them and lightly injuring a third”, while police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said two of the Palestinians were killed.
“Assailants ran over a number of soldiers who had stopped at the side of the road on their way out of the village” of Kafr Nama, northwest of Ramallah, a military statement said.
“An (army) officer was severely injured and a border police soldier was lightly injured as a result,” the army said.
Rosenfeld said that the policeman injured in the pre-dawn attack was subsequently released from hospital.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised soldiers for having swiftly “eliminated” the Palestinians and vowed to fast-track the punitive demolitions of their homes.
“I have ordered that the demolitions of these homes be speeded up,” he said. “We are determined to continue our vigorous struggle against the murderers and against terrorism everywhere.”
Israel regularly razes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israelis.
“House demolition is an administrative procedure. It is carried out without trial and without any requirement to present evidence,” Israeli rights group B’Tselem says on its website.
The Palestinian health ministry named the two men killed as Amir Mahmoud Darraj and Yussef Anqawi, both 20.
Kafr Nama’s mayor said that troops were leaving the village on foot after a raid to arrest a Palestinian suspect there when the incident occurred.
Israel’s army said its troops had arrested 11 alleged operatives of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the Ramallah area overnight.
– Firebombs –
It added that “an initial inquiry suggests that earlier in the evening, the assailants of the car-ramming attack also hurled firebombs at a crossing”.
“Additional firebombs were later found in the vehicle that had been used in the terror attack,” the army statement said.
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and has fought three wars with Israel, praised the attack but stopped short of claiming it.
A statement hailing the attack said the Palestinian people “will continue their struggle against the occupier until they achieve complete freedom and free their land”.
Palestinian car-ramming, knife and gun attacks against Israelis occur sporadically in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.