Israeli forces kill two Palestinians as British-Israeli buried

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Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian militants Tuesday in the West Bank, on a day mourners laid to rest a British-Israeli woman who died in an attack that also killed her two daughters.

Israeli-Palestinian violence has surged over the last week, with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Jewish Passover and Christian Easter coinciding.

“I commend the actions of the soldiers who eliminated two terrorists who opened fire on them near Elon Moreh,” a Jewish settlement close to the West Bank city of Nablus, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Twitter.

He added the troops had “prevented an attack on Israeli civilians.”

In a statement, the Israeli army said “armed assailants fired shots from a vehicle at the Elon Moreh post.” Soldiers returned fire “toward the vehicle and neutralized two armed assailants.”

The army said it seized two M-16 rifles and a handgun.

The Palestinian ministry of health named the two men as Saud Abdullah Saud Titi and Mohammad Abu Dhiraa.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade — the armed wing of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement — claimed the two men as members.

They were from the nearby Balata refugee camp, a statement from Fatah said. The incident came as thousands of mourners gathered Tuesday at an Israeli settlement in the West Bank for the funeral of a British-Israeli woman killed in a shooting attack days earlier.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War and hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers live in Israeli-approved settlements there which are considered illegal under international law.

Israelis holding national flags lined the roads in the rain leading to the funeral for Lucy Dee in Kfar Etzion.

The 48-year-old, also known by her Hebrew name Leah, died Monday from wounds sustained three days earlier when her car came under fire in the Jordan Valley.

Two of her children, sisters aged 16 and 20, were shot dead in the attack and buried on Sunday.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in a statement, labelled the killings “abhorrent” and added “the UK condemns this appalling attack on civilians.”

He said Britain urged “all sides to de-escalate tensions in Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories, and end the deadly cycle of violence.”

The latest surge in unrest began last Wednesday with an Israeli police raid on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, followed by rocket fire from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, and a car-ramming in Tel Aviv that killed an Italian tourist.

The body of Alessandro Parini arrived back in Rome on Tuesday, after the 36-year-old was killed when a car plowed into pedestrians on the city’s seafront Friday evening.

On Monday, Palestinian mourners had gathered near Jericho city for the funeral of a 15-year-old boy, Mohammed Fayez Balhan, who was shot dead by Israeli forces during a raid in the Jordan Valley.

The army said it was working to apprehend “a terror suspect,” and one person was detained during the operation.

The conflict has this year claimed the lives of at least 96 Palestinians, 19 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian, according to an AFP count based on Israeli and Palestinian official sources.

These figures include, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, including minors, and on the Israeli side, mostly civilians, including minors, and three members of the Arab minority.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.

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