Four Israelis Killed in Shooting Attack Near Hebron

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Four Israelis were killed on Tuesday night when gunmen opened fire on their car at the entrance to Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, in the West Bank.

Israel Police officers surveying the scene of the deadly West Bank shooting attack on Aug. 31, 2010. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The attack occurred around 7:30 P.M. on Route 60, when shots were fired at a private vehicle near the Bani Naim junction, south of Kiryat Arba. Preliminary reports showed the gunmen approached the vehicle and shot the victims multiple times at point-blank range.

Magen David Adom reported that the victims were two men aged 25 and 40 and two women, also aged 25 and 40, one of whom was pregnant.

The victims were all residents of the settlement of Beit Hagai in the southern Hebron Hills.

Hamas' military wing has claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes just a day before the White House effort to re-launch Mideast peace talks.

A statement from the armed wing of Hamas, a group that opposes any dialogue with Israel, said the "Qassam Brigades announces its full responsibility for the heroic operation in Hebron."

Hamas said it would carry out more operations after claiming the shooting.

"This attack is a chain in a series of attacks, some have been executed, and others will follow," Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the group, said.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack, saying it harms Palestinian interests.

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi earlier this week toured the West Bank with Brigadier General Nitzan Alon, the IDF commander in the territory, to discuss the army's readiness to confront efforts to "inflame the region" ahead of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Washington.

This attack is the latest in shooting attacks on Israelis in the West Bank. In June, a police officer was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting attack on their vehicle outside Hebron, and in May two Israelis were hurt by broken glass when bullets hit their car on a different stretch of Route 60.