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Unidentified gunman opens fire on Israeli settlement near Ramallah

Dec. 25, 2016 12:48 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 25, 2016 4:53 P.M.)
(Photo: Israeli army spokesperson)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An unidentified gunman opened fire from a passing vehicle near the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El north of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank Sunday morning, with no injuries reported, according to an Israeli army spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that Israeli forces found several ammunition shells at the scene and were searching the area for the suspect or suspects.

Meanwhile, after a man who allegedly stabbed and lightly injured a settler in the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat southwest of Bethlehem Friday night, Israeli forces continued to crack down on Palestinian villages in the area as of Saturday in search for the suspect.

Dozens of Israeli military vehicles stormed the village of Wadi Rahhal, which is near Efrat, Friday evening and conducted a house-to-house search, as Israeli helicopters hovered overhead. While Israeli troops left Wadi Rahhal Saturday morning after searching the entire village, military checkpoints were installed at roads, forcing residents to commute to work on foot by hiking through fields.

A wave of unrest that began in October last year has largely been marked by small-scale attacks or alleged attacks by Palestinians with knives or similar weapons on uniformed Israeli soldiers or police. However, a number of attacks, including drive-by shootings, have targeted Israeli settlers residing in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Some 34 Israelis have been killed since Oct. 2016, and in the same period at least 246 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis.

Rights groups estimate the settler population in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to be between 500,000 to 600,000, all of whom reside in 196 illegal Israeli settlements in direct violation of international law. The overwhelming majority of the United Nations Security Council affirmed the illegality of settlements in a new resolution passed this week.
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