Israeli police officer killed in West Bank shooting attack

Monday, June 14, 2010

Israeli police officer killed in shooting attack

JERUSALEM — Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a police vehicle in the West Bank on Monday, killing an Israeli police officer and wounding two others, police said, in a rare flare-up of violence after months of calm.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the incident occurred near Hebron, a volatile city in the southern West Bank where hardline Jewish settlers live in fortified enclaves amid tens of thousands of Palestinians.

There was no claim of responsibility. But Rosenfeld said police were treating the incident as an attack by Palestinian militants, and were searching the area for suspects.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the attack and said his government would work to prevent such incidents. “Experience has shown that violence harms the Palestinian national cause,” he said in a statement.

Israeli vehicles had been frequently targeted by Palestinian militants in West Bank drive-by shooting attacks, but such attacks have diminished considerably in recent years.

Thanks to the relative calm and increased security coordination with the Palestinians, Israel has eased many travel restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank.

The last fatal West Bank shooting attack took place in December, when a 40-year-old rabbi was shot in the head. In March 2009, two police officers were killed in a shooting attack. Their killers have never been apprehended.

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