Israel shoots and kills two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank
The Israeli military claimed the men had targeted soldiers on a highway
The Israeli military said on Monday that its soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank after they tried to ram soldiers on a highway.
An Israeli officer and border policeman were injured when the Palestinian car rammed into a group of Israeli troops, running them over on a road outside a village near the West Bank city of Ramallah, the military said.
The officer was seriously injured and hospitalised. A third Palestinian inside the car was wounded and taken into custody.
Later on Monday, another military statement said an initial inquiry "indicates that the incident was a terror attack" and that the Palestinian suspects had also thrown firebombs at a nearby highway earlier in the night.
A Palestinian official disputed that account. Khaldoun Al Deek, the mayor of the Palestinian village of Nima near where the incident took place, told The Associated Press that the incident took place at a sharp curve in the road, leading him to “believe it was a road accident, not a ramming attack”.
The Palestinian health ministry identified the two killed as Amir Daraj and Yusuf Anqawi, both 20 years old and residents of villages near Ramallah.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the military to expedite the demolition of the suspected Palestinian attackers' homes. Palestinians say the demolitions amount to unlawful discrimination.
Since 2015, Palestinians have killed over 50 Israelis in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks, and Israeli forces have killed upward of 260 Palestinians in that same period.
Occasional clashes between protesters and soldiers have also turned deadly.
Palestinians launched a wave of attacks against Israelis and Israeli soldiers in late 2015 after perceived changes to the status quo at the revered holy site in East Jerusalem known as the Haram Al Sharif.
Attacks have continued as the Israeli occupation continues, settlement enterprise continues to expand, and US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Palestinians seek occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of any future sovereign state. The majority of the international community believes that the status of the city should be discussed through direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Updated: March 4, 2019 04:13 PM