Israel sees ‘difficult days ahead’ after West Bank attacks, riot

Israel on Monday deployed extra troops in the occupied West Bank after a Palestinian gunman shot dead two Israelis and a Palestinian was killed when Jewish settlers rampaged through a village, setting fire to houses and cars.

“We expect difficult days ahead of us,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said as he toured the largely empty streets of the village of Hawara with a heavy security detail.

In fresh violence on Monday, the Israeli military said Palestinians carried out a series of drive-by shootings on a highway outside the West Bank town of Jericho before fleeing. An Israeli civilian was wounded in the attack, the military said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Sunday’s rampage partially eclipsed the attack earlier in the day in which two brothers from a nearby Israeli settlement were gunned down in their car in Hawara, a Palestinian village north of Ramallah that often sees friction with settlers.

Flames illuminated the sky into the night as dozens of cars were torched and rioters set fire to several Palestinian houses. One Palestinian was shot dead. President Mahmoud Abbas said he held the Israeli government fully responsible for the rampage.

Lamar Abusarees, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl, said her house was among those set alight. “My mother moved us to a corner because there was no safe place, they broke all the windows while we were inside.”

The turmoil erupted as Israeli and Palestinian officials agreed at a summit in Jordan to de-escalate tensions.

The Israeli army said it was still hunting down the Palestinian gunman and would send two extra battalions to the area to thwart fresh attacks and prevent rioting. Police said they had arrested two people.

Gallant ordered Israeli forces to be prepared for all threats and to increase activity. “I call on everyone to restore calm,” he said. “We cannot allow a situation in which citizens take the law into their hands.”

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