Jerusalem (CNN) — Local settler leader Yossi Dagan said two Israelis were shot dead in the West Bank on Sunday, describing it as a “very serious terrorist attack.”
The Israeli army said earlier that “a terrorist arrived at the Einbus junction and opened fire at an Israeli car.”
The Israeli army added that two Israelis were wounded and taken to hospital, adding that it was pursuing the attacker.
The Dagan Star Medical Agency and settler leader Dagan said later that the two had died.
Another local settler leader said he was present when the two were shot.
“The shots were fired right behind me. It looked horrific – the shooting was at close range,” said Shai Alon, head of the Beit El Council, adding that Israel needed to “wage war against those who wish us harm.”
The incident took place in the town of Hawara, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, days after a large-scale Israeli military raid on Nablus in search of wanted activists, which left at least 11 Palestinians dead.
The Lions’ Den, a Palestinian militant group that emerged in Nablus last year, announced the killing of six of its members on Wednesday, and vowed revenge.
The group said, referring to Israel, “With the amount of pain that fills Nablus, the occupation will taste double the pain. They will know that the fighters of the honorable groups in Nablus will not retreat a step.”
Dagan, head of the regional council in Samaria, called on Israel to stop the ongoing security talks between Israel and the Palestinians mediated by Jordan, Egypt and the United States, saying: “I demand the prime minister, the defense minister and all the ministers to bring back the delegation from the idle talks in Aqaba… We need to launch an operation against terrorism !”
Israel and the Palestinian Authority confirmed earlier Sunday that they were holding five-way talks in Jordan. Egypt and the United States are participating with the Jordanian hosts.
An Israeli official said the participants “will discuss ways to calm security tensions in the region before Ramadan,” which begins in March.
The Israeli delegation includes National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, and Shin Bet chief Ronan Bar. The source said that the coordinator of government operations in the territories, Major General Rasan Elyan, and the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ronan Levy, asked not to be named to discuss diplomatic negotiations.
On Sunday, the Palestinian News Agency (Wafa) reported that the high-level Palestinian delegation “will stress the need to stop all unilateral Israeli measures, and to abide by the signed agreements.”
The Palestinian Hamas movement, which rules Gaza, condemned the participation of the Palestinian Authority, describing it as a “fruitless step”. A statement from Hamas urged an “irreversible end to security coordination” with Israel, which the Palestinian Authority officially halted in January after the Israeli raid on Jenin that left 11 Palestinians dead.