Middle East

Israeli killed in West Bank car-ramming attack

Israeli policemen stand guard at the scene of a car-ramming attack near the Jewish settlement of Ofra, in the occupied West Bank (6 April 2017) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Witnesses told Israeli media that the car accelerated towards a bus stop

An Israeli soldier has been killed and another Israeli hurt in a Palestinian car-ramming attack in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military says.

The military said the driver was taken into custody after the incident near the Jewish settlement of Ofra.

It brings to 41 the number of Israelis killed in knife, gun and car-ramming attacks since October 2015.

Local media have named the driver as 22-year-old Malek Hamad, from the West Bank town of Silwad.

Witnesses told Israeli media that the car approached a bus stop at the Ofra junction, on the Route 60 highway north-east of Ramallah, and then accelerated towards the two Israelis waiting there.

Sgt Elchai Teharlev, 20, died at the scene, while the second victim, aged 19, was reportedly lightly injured and taken to hospital in Jerusalem for treatment.

The Palestinian militant group, Hamas, praised what it called the "heroic" attack.

In late 2015 and 2016, such attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs happened with near-daily frequency but the rate has dropped in recent months.

At least 242 Palestinians - 162 of them attackers, Israel says - have also been killed in that period, Reuters news agency reports. Others have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

Israel has accused Palestinian leaders of inciting the attacks, but they have blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.