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Second Israeli Dies after West Bank Attack

Second Israeli Dies after West Bank Attack

Monday, 18 March, 2019 - 10:30
Israeli forensic police inspect the scene of a Palestinian shooting attack near the Jewish settlement of Ariel, in the occupied West Bank March 17, 2019. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
A second Israeli died on Monday from wounds he sustained during a Palestinian attack a day earlier in the occupied West Bank.

Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, 47, was a father of 12 and a resident of a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. He was shot on Sunday shortly after a soldier was stabbed to death at an intersection on a busy highway in the territory.

The Palestinian assailant used the 19-year-old conscript’s rifle to fire at the rabbi and wound a second soldier before fleeing in a hijacked car, Israeli officials said.

A spokeswoman at Beilinson hospital near Tel Aviv announced Ettinger’s death. He was the head of a religious seminary in Tel Aviv.

“The people of Israel are mourning the murder of Rabbi Achiad Ettinger,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

Israeli troops went house to house overnight in search of the assailant, identified as a 19-year-old Palestinian with no known affiliation with a militant organization.

The military said it had surveyed his home for future demolition. Israel often demolishes homes of alleged Palestinian assailants or their families as a policy it says deters future attacks.

On Sunday, Culture Minister Miri Regev, one of Netanyahu’s most outspoken supporters in his right-wing Likud, seized on the incident to attack his strongest challenger in the April 9 election, former armed forces chief Benny Gantz.

Regev said Gantz, who heads the centrist Blue and White party, would seek the support of an Arab legislator whom she accused of inciting Palestinian violence. Gantz accused Regev of using Israeli deaths for “political propaganda”.

Sunday's attack came after two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire last week in separate West Bank incidents that followed a period of relative calm, even as the Israeli military has been warning of the potential of a new escalation of violence.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

Tensions have also been high along the Israel-Gaza border where Palestinians have been holding weekly protests in support of a right of return to lands in Israel from which they fled or were forced to leave in the war over Israel’s creation in 1948.

On Thursday, Palestinians in Hamas-ruled Gaza fired two rockets at Tel Aviv, causing no damage or injuries. Israel responded with air strikes against Hamas targets.

The incidents have highlighted security as an election issue, with both Netanyahu and Gantz promoting themselves as the best qualified to defend Israel.

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