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Israeli Couple Fatally Shot in West Bank

  • VOA News

Map of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank

Map of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank

A Palestinian gunman has shot dead an Israeli couple traveling in a car with their four young children in the occupied West Bank.

Israel's military, which called the violence a "ruthless, heinous, barbaric attack,'' said forces were scouring the area, near the Palestinian village of Beit Furik. The military said the four children, aged between 4 months and 9 years, were slightly wounded.

The shooting came hours after Israel's prime minister said he was prepared to resume peace talks with the Palestinians.

Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly in New York he would restart negotiations "immediately" and "without preconditions," but that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was not interested.

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas praised the attack as a "heroic operation carried out by resistance fighters in the West Bank." It was not clear, however, whether the group was behind the violence.

The attack came as tensions continued to flare between Israelis and Palestinians over the Jerusalem site known to Jews as the Temple Mount, home to the biblical Temples, and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, site of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the spot from where the Prophet Muhammad is said to have ascended to heaven.

Over the past two weeks, Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli police at the hilltop compound, and unrest has spilled over to Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem and the West Bank.