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American killed in latest bloodshed between Israelis, Palestinians


WASHINGTON – A 27-year-old motorist who was an American citizen was shot and killed Monday by a Palestinian gunman in the latest wave of bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians.

The motorist was shot when attackers opened fire at an Israeli car near the Palestinian city of Jericho. He was transferred from the scene to Hadassah Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries, according to a statement by hospital spokeswoman Hadar Elboim.

The victim has not been identified, but the State Department said he held U.S.-Israeli dual citizenship.

Tom Nides, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, also confirmed in a message on Twitter that a U.S. citizen had died in the attack.

The killing occurred a day after two Israelis were killed by a Palestinian gunman in the northern West Bank, triggering a rampage in which Israeli settlers torched dozens of cars and homes in a Palestinian town. It was the worst such violence in decades.

The violence broke out on Sunday when a Palestinian gunman shot and killed brothers Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, ages 21 and 19, from the Jewish settlement of Har Bracha, in a shooting ambush in the Palestinian town of Hawara in the northern West Bank. The gunman fled and remained on the loose late Monday. The brothers were buried in Jerusalem.

Following the shooting, groups of settlers rampaged along the main thoroughfare in Hawara, which is used by both Palestinians and Israeli settlers. 

Late Sunday, a 37-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli fire, two Palestinians were shot and wounded and another was beaten with an iron bar, Palestinian health officials said. Some 95 Palestinians were being treated for tear gas inhalation, according to medics.

The bloodshed started on the same day that the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority announced a joint commitment to de-escalate and prevent further violence. The agreement came after a rare meeting Sunday in Aqaba, Jordan, that was also attended by officials from the United States, Egypt and Jordan.

At the White House, National Security spokesman John Kirby praised the meeting “as a starting point, but an important one.” Kirby also echoed statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog that “citizens cannot take the law into their own hands.”

Contributing: The Associated Press.

Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.

More: 10 Palestinians killed, scores hurt as Israeli troops lead rare daytime operation in West Bank

More: 10 Palestinians killed, scores hurt as Israeli troops lead rare daytime operation in West Bank

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