Palestinian group claims responsibility for attack on Israeli settlers
A Palestinian group purportedly linked to the military wing of Hamas resistance movement has taken responsibility for a shooting attack on two Israeli men in the occupied West Bank, in which one died and another sustained gunshot wounds.
The group, calling itself the Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha Squad and claiming affiliation with Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement on Friday that it was behind the attack near the illegal settlement of Dolev, located 27 kilometers (17 miles) northwest of al-Quds (Jerusalem), earlier in the day, Ma’an news agency reported.
The statement added that Palestinian fighters had been closely watching over the area, and carried out the ambush on the settlers’ car after ascertaining that the occupants were Israeli citizens.
The group further said that the fighters returned to their bases following the shooting, and that the operation was in memory of Kawasme and Abu Aysha, whom Israeli military forces gunned down in al-Khalil (Hebron) last September on alleged charges of the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers.
The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades has not made any comments on the shooting and the group’s assertions.
Israeli forces and settlers regularly engage in violence against Palestinians in the occupied territories.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, in 1967.
Settlers, mostly armed, regularly attack Palestinian villages and farms and set fire to their mosques, olive groves and other properties in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli settlements are considered illegal by much of the international community because the territories were captured by the Israeli regime in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.