JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Three Palestinians deliberately drove a car into Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank on Monday and two of the attackers were shot dead after critically injuring an officer, the Israeli military said.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the two men were shot in cold blood in “a brutal execution”.
Describing the incident as a car-ramming, the military said a third Palestinian in the vehicle was wounded after the troops opened fire.
Palestinians, many of them individuals without known associations with militant groups, carried out a wave of car-rammings in the West Bank in late 2015 and 2016, but the frequency of such incidents has since decreased.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state there and in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.
In Monday’s incident, the military said the soldiers were targeted after they had stopped their own vehicle on the roadside at night about 10 km (six miles) northwest of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, the military said. Israeli media reported their car had broken down.
Soldiers fired at the Palestinian car after the ramming, killing two of its occupants, a military spokeswoman said.
In addition to the Israeli officer who was seriously hurt, a soldier was slightly injured, the military said.
Later, the military said in a separate statement that just prior to the attack, Palestinians in the car had thrown firebombs at an Israeli checkpoint and that additional Molotov cocktails had been found in the vehicle.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Angus MacSwan)