Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Israeli defence minister calls for West Bank settlement expansion

Israeli defence minister calls for West Bank settlement expansion

He said he saw 31-year-old Yotam Ovadia "covered in blood ... walking slowly toward a vehicle and then falling".

The army named the man who died as Yotam Ovadia, 31; Israeli media reported he had two young children.

The army said Friday it had raided Kobar, questioned a number of the assailant's family members and suspended their work permits.

"The level of Israeli escalation against Gaza and the deliberate targeting of fighters demonstrate the occupation's intentions to kill", spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said. The IDF said that clashes broke out after around 150 Palestinian demonstrators threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli soldiers, as well as burning tires.

Some 300 Palestinians - a lot of them assailants, Israel says - have also been killed in that period, according to news agencies. The settlements are considered illegal under global law, though Israel disputes this.

The Israeli defense minister has vowed to expand controversial settlement policies in the West Bank, claiming that it is the "best answer to terrorism". Israel typically demolishes the homes of Palestinian attackers calling it a deterrent measure, but critics consider the policy collective punishment.

Palestinians want to establish a state in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

There was no response from Abbas's government, which has cut ties with the Trump administration over its stance on Israel.

The last attack in a West Bank settlement was in April, when a Palestinian tried to stab an Israeli with a screwdriver near a petrol station in an industrial area connected to the Maale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem.

Kobar, north of Ramallah and some 18 kilometers (11 miles) from Adam, was also home to Omar al-Abed, who carried out a similar attack in the settlement of Halamish in July 2017 in which three Israelis were killed.

The attack came after a period of relative calm in the West Bank.

Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation by most of the West, seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

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