The two incidents occurred within hours of each other, though they were not directly related, Israeli security officials said. The attack at the Tapuach road junction was the first time in more than a year that an Israeli civilian was killed in the West Bank.
Underscoring the tense atmosphere, the army called up about 2,000 reserve soldiers today for a snap, weeklong drill along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinian man in Gaza, Haitham al-Mishal, was targeted because of his involvement in an April 17 rocket attack on the resort town of Eilat, north of Egypt’s Sinai border, which caused no injuries or damage. “We will not accept the sporadic firing of rockets from either the Gaza Strip or Sinai,” Netanyahu said in an e- mailed message.
Gaza also borders Sinai, and Israel says militants there have infiltrated the Egyptian territory to attack Israeli targets. The army said in a statement that al-Mishal operated with jihadi militant Islamic organizations “and over the past few years has been a key terror figure.”
Three other Palestinians were injured in the air strike, said Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesman for the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza City.
In the West Bank, Evyatar Borovsky, a resident of the Yitzhar settlement, was stabbed by Salam Zaghal, who grabbed his gun and opened fire at Israeli security forces, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a telephone interview. Security forces shot back at the Palestinian man and arrested him, Rosenfeld said.
Yitzhar settlers and Palestinians who oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, the core of their hoped-for state, have clashed multiple times.
Borovsky, a father of five, was an actor and improvisational comic who was studying to be a clown who works in hospitals, his father, Baruch, told Channel 2 television. His assailant, Zaghal, was recently released from an Israeli prison where he served three years for “terrorist activities,” Rosenfeld said, without elaborating.
“The IDF needs to be prepared for an array of threats,” Mordechai said, identifying Lebanon, Syria and Gaza as possible future battlefields.
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