Palestinian assailants shoot dead Israeli guard in West Bank

Jerusalem: Palestinian assailants shot and killed a security guard at the entrance of a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank late Friday, the Israeli military said. The fresh attack could further fuel Israeli-Palestinian tensions that have soared in the past two months.

The Israeli military said early Saturday that the attackers arrived at the Ariel settlement entrance and shot the guard in his post before fleeing the scene. The military launched a pursuit of the suspects in the West Bank.

In a separate incident, Israeli troops shot and killed a 27-year-old Palestinian man during clashes at Azoun village near the town of Qalqilya early Saturday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

A string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank over the past two months have left 14 Israelis dead. At least 27 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces in recent weeks.

Hamas, the militant group ruling Gaza, praised the attack but stopped short of claiming responsibility for it.

The operation proves that revolution is raging all over the West Bank, said spokesman Hazem Qassem. This is a practical implementation of our people's declaration that Jerusalem is a red line."

Tensions increased this month at a major Jerusalem holy site, with Palestinian worshippers clashing daily with Israeli police. The site contains Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, and increasing numbers of Palestinians go there to pray during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Earlier Friday, Palestinians hurled stones and Israeli police fired rubber-coated

bullets at the site, which has seen a wave of unrest in recent weeks.

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