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Sharon Zucker and his wife Neta, in the ninth month of pregnancy, were lightly wounded by gunfire as they drove in the southern Hebron hills in the West Bank last night and she was rushed to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva, where she gave birth to a son via Cesarean section. The baby is in good condition.

Shots were fired at their vehicle hours before the freeze on settlement construction was due to expire. No Palestinian organization had claimed responsibility for the attack as of press time. The incident took place near the Omerim junction in the West Bank around 8 P.M. Assailants fired on two passing Israeli-owned cars. One vehicle did not sustain any damage, but the other car, which was driven by Sharon Zucker, was pierced by bullets.

"I was driving from Tel Omerim in the direction of a checkpoint, and as we drove past the quarry, we saw a car approaching," Zucker, 35, said. "All of a sudden, I began hearing gunshots.

"A few second later, I realized that we were being shot at, and I felt that I was hit in my leg," he said. "The first thing I did was to calm my wife down, but she told me that she also felt a hit to the leg. I realized that she was also shot. I immediately called the police while I was still driving. I didn't stop the car and I reported the attack.

"I understood there was no point in waiting for an ambulance and I began driving in the direction of Soroka," Zucker continued. "As I approached Shoket junction, I saw a police patrol vehicle and I asked the cops to take my wife to the hospital, because they could turn on their siren and drive unimpeded.

"When I tried to get my wife out of the car, I realized she couldn't get out," Zucker said.

"After my wife undergoes a C-section, the doctors will remove the bullet from her leg. This was not how I wanted to bring a child into this world," he said.

The attack coincides with frantic diplomatic efforts to resolve the disagreement over Israel's moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements, an issue that threatens the recently launched direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pleas to tone down their exuberance, settlers gathered by the thousands yesterday to celebrate the end of the freeze.

In late August, four Israelis were shot dead in their car near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba less than a day before Israeli and Palestinian leaders met in Washington for a summit to announce the talks. The attack, for which Hamas claimed responsibility, shattered years of relative calm in the West Bank.

One day later, two Israelis were wounded, one seriously, in a shooting attack near the Israeli settlement of Kochav Hashachar.