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Shooting kills at least 2

A Palestinian gunman got out of a car and opened fire at a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement on Thursday, killing two Israeli soldiers before speeding away, the Israeli military said.

The military said the assailant also wounded two other people, including another soldier who was critically wounded. It said troops were searching the area for the attacker and that it was sending reinforcements.

The deaths extended a violent week that began with a shooting outside a West Bank settlement on Sunday, resulting in the death of a baby who was delivered prematurely following the weekend attack, and continued with the killing of two Palestinians wanted in a pair of attacks on Israelis in the West Bank.

While the West Bank experiences occasional deadly violence, often between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters, most of the Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed in recent months has been concentrated in the Gaza Strip, where some 175 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in border protests.

Thursday's shooting occurred at a location about a 10-minute drive south from the place of Sunday's attack.

"In recent days, we definitely feel like the situation (in the West Bank) is getting worse," said Shalom Galil, a paramedic who assisted at the scene of the shooting, told Israeli Army Radio.

Following the attack, Israel set up checkpoints at the entrances to the West Bank city of Ramallah, searching cars entering the city and checking drivers' IDs. Some Israeli-controlled roads were completely blocked to Palestinian traffic.

The clampdown on the city, the Palestinians' economic and administrative centre, was an unusual step that signalled the severity with which Israel viewed the violent flare-up.



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