Palestinian arrested over Hebron drive-by shooting

Israeli forces have arrested a Palestinian suspect in connection with a drive-by shooting that killed two Israelis in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli soldiers stand at the scene of the shooting of a rabbi and his son near the West Bank city of Hebron. Picture: APIsraeli soldiers stand at the scene of the shooting of a rabbi and his son near the West Bank city of Hebron. Picture: AP
Israeli soldiers stand at the scene of the shooting of a rabbi and his son near the West Bank city of Hebron. Picture: AP

Israel’s internal security service said it had seized a weapon and a vehicle used in the shooting, and that the suspect had admitted his involvement in Friday’s attack, which killed a rabbi and his son as they were driving with family south of the city of Hebron.

It was not clear when the suspect was detained.

The attack was the latest in a wave of violence in which Palestinian assaults on Israeli civilians and soldiers have become an almost daily occurrence.

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Hebron, the largest West Bank city, has been a flashpoint in the current bloodshed.

Several hundred Jewish settlers live in fortified enclaves there, amid tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Israel closed routes in and out of Hebron and arrested some 20 suspects in the area while searching for the shooter over the weekend.

The shooting was the latest escalation in two months of Palestinian attacks, mainly stabbings, which have killed 14 Israelis.

Over the same period, at least 81 Palestinians have been killed, of whom Israel claims 51 had been involved in assaults.

The rest were killed in clashes with security forces in the West Bank.

At the funeral for the two shooting victims on Saturday, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin compared the assault with Friday’s attacks that killed 129 people in Paris.

“Whether in Paris or Hebron, Jerusalem or New York, we must fight a bitter and stubborn struggle against those who massacre innocent people, against those who murder in cold-blood,” Mr Rivlin said.

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The drive-by shooting recalled an attack in early October, when Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli couple travelling with their four children in the northern West Bank.

Israeli security forces later arrested five Palestinians it said had been part of a Hamas cell that carried out the attack.

The current violence began in mid-September with clashes in and around a sensitive Jerusalem holy site revered by Muslims and Jews.

Israel blames Palestinian political and religious leaders for inciting attacks. Palestinians say the unrest stems from decades of military rule and dwindling hopes for an independent state.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military on Saturday demolished the West Bank homes of four Palestinians who it said had carried out deadly attacks against Israelis.

The military went ahead with the demolition orders after clearance from Israel’s supreme court.

It said the three homes in Nablus belonged to attackers who killed an Israeli couple in front of their children in the West Bank on 1 October.

It said the other home, near Ramallah, belonged to a man who killed an Israeli who was on his way home from a basketball game.

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Israel has renewed a home demolition tactic that it says is a legal and effective tool to deter attacks. Critics say the tactic amounts to collective punishment.

“Even if they demolish it, we don’t care. We are proud of what they did,” Mahmoud Kussa, the brother of one of the Palestinian attackers, said.