(Update: adds info of settler attack on Turmusaya)
Jerusalem, Jun 21 (EFE).- Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday ordered a thousand new homes to be built in Eli in the northern West Bank, in retaliation for a Palestinian attack a day earlier that killed four residents of that settlement.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (…) agreed on the immediate advancement of planning for approximately 1,000 new residential units in Eli, adjacent to where yesterday’s terrorist attack was perpetrated,” a government statement said.
“Our answer to terrorism is to strike at it forcefully and build up our country,” it added.
Tensions have been heightened in the region for over a year, with at least 15 people killed in the past two days.
Two Palestinians with ties to the armed wing of the Islamist movement Hamas that governs the Gaza Strip opened fire on a gas station near Eli on Tuesday, killing at least four settlers – two of them minors – and wounding four others.
The assailants were killed in the aftermath, and later on Tuesday night hundreds of settlers attacked the Palestinian town of Huwara and other nearby villages in retaliation, injuring 34 Palestinians and leaving at least 140 vehicles burnt.
On Wednesday, a mob of settlers attacked the village of Turmusaya, leaving at least one Palestinian dead and 12 others wounded, one of whom was in a serious condition, the Palestinian health ministry said.
The West Bank in recent months has seen the worst escalation of violence since the Second Intifada (2000-05), with 137 Palestinians killed so far this year, mostly in armed clashes with Israeli security forces.
On the Israeli side, 25 people have died, most of them settlers in attacks by Palestinian militants.
The violence has led to growing calls within Israel’s hardline government – the most right-wing in the country’s history – to toughen the response to Palestinian militant activity.
On Sunday, the government green lit the acceleration of the process of approving and building settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.
Israel seized control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967, and maintains a military occupation over the territory that is among the longest in recent history. EFE