Israel raids Palestinian news agency as manhunt for settler killers goes on

Israeli forces entered Ramallah, coming within hundreds of metres of President’s residence

Israeli soldiers throw sound bombs as they clash with Palestinians during a search for suspects of a shooting attack yesterday in the West Bank City of Ramallah, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. Israeli officials say seven people have been wounded, one critically, in a shooting by a suspected Palestinian assailant outside a Jewish settlement of Ofra in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
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Israeli forces wounded three Palestinians in intense West Bank clashes on Tuesday as they continued a manhunt for suspected gunmen behind the shooting of seven Israelis outside a settlement two days earlier.

The Israeli military has created new checkpoints around the West Bank town of Ramallah and surrounding villages in the West Bank in a bid to find those behind the shooting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, attending a road opening ceremony in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, vowed to avenge the shooting.

"We will chase down the perpetrators and settle the account with them."

Mr Netanyahu said that the Palestinian attacks were aimed at scaring Israelis into leaving the West Bank.

"We will prove to them that their will to uproot us from our land will be met with a fortified wall," he said. "As long as I'm prime minister of Israel, no Jew will be uprooted from his home."

On Monday, they raided the official Palestinian news agency Wafa in broad daylight and entered Ramallah to within hundreds of metres of the residence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinian leader called for an international reaction to the raids and encroachment of Ramallah, which lies in Area A of the West Bank, the section that falls under the civilian and security control of the Palestinian Authority.

Elsewhere in the West Bank on Tuesday,  Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian near the flashpoint city of Hebron, Palestinian officials said.

Wafa identified the dead man as Omar Awwad, 27, and said he was shot by Israeli forces near Hebron. The health ministry confirmed he had died after being taken to hospital.

Israeli police said a man was shot after his car "drove towards border police" at a checkpoint.

"Shots were fired at the suspect vehicle. No injuries to officers," spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement, adding that the incident was under investigation.


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Police later said the Israeli forces had approached Awwad's village Idna to take action against illegal copper smelting.

"A Palestinian car driven by the suspect tried to escape the security forces, the car hit the supervisor's car and headed toward a border police officer who was securing the event," a statement said.

"The officer fired at the car, hitting the man suspected of attempting to run him over," it added, confirming the driver had died.

Palestinians have carried out a series of attacks against Israelis in recent years in protest against the military’s continued occupation of the West Bank, where Israel has developed a network of settlements that now host around 400,000 Jewish settlers.

Palestinians say the settlement enterprise is intended to prevent the contiguity of any future sovereign state. Israel’s right-wing government and many nationalist Israelis believe the West Bank to be the biblical home of the Jewish people. Palestinians fear that Israel seeks to annex the entire West Bank and create a greater Israel.