TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A Palestinian gunman opened fire on a car in the occupied West Bank on Sunday wounding three Israelis, including two girls, before fleeing, Israeli authorities said.
The bloodshed was the latest in a relentless cycle of violence that has gripped the region, driving up the death toll and sparking the worst fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank in nearly two decades.
The Israeli military said the gunman opened fire on a car from a passing vehicle. Israel’s rescue service MDA said three Israelis were wounded, including a 35-year-old with gunshot wounds in serious but stable condition. Two girls, aged 9 and 14, were lightly wounded by flying debris.
The military said forces were on the lookout for the assailant.
Fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank intensified early last year when Israel launched near-nightly raids into Palestinian areas in the West Bank in response to a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis.
The violence has spiked this year, with more than 150 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023 in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a tally by The Associated Press.
Israeli says most of those killed have been militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting the raids and others not involved in the confrontations have also been killed.
At least 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis during that time.
Israel says the raids are essential to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see the violence as a natural response to 56 years of occupation, including stepped-up settlement construction by Israel’s government and increased violence by Jewish settlers.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.