Israeli soldier killed in West Bank city of Hebron


Israeli soldiers patrol the empty streets of Hebron on June 26, 2002, in the West Bank.


Quique Kierszenbaum

An Israeli soldier was shot dead on Sunday during a Jewish festival in the West Bank city of Hebron, apparently by a Palestinian sniper.

He was the second serviceman killed since Friday by suspected Palestinian gunmen, although killings of Israelis have become relatively rare in the West Bank.

The 20-year-old soldier died in the hospital.

The two shootings over the weekend do not appear to have any direct link.

Hebron is home to the Tomb of Abraham, a holy site for both Jews and Muslims, making it a source of tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the latest shooting by authorizing Jewish settlers to move back into a building near the scene of the attack.

"Whoever tries to forcibly remove us from the city of our patriarchs will achieve the opposite," he said in a statement.

The US also condemned the killings of both Israeli soldiers, issuing a statement from New York, where diplomats are gathering for the UN General Assembly.

"Such violence and terror are unacceptable, and undermine efforts to establish the positive atmosphere the parties need to progress in peace negotiations," spokesperson Jen Psaki said in an emailed statement.