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The New Arab Staff

Unidentified gunmen shoot dead three Palestinians 'metres from Israeli checkpoint'

Footage of the shooting's aftermath emerged on social media shortly after the attack [Twitter]

Date of publication: 18 September, 2020

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Two women and one man were shot dead by a group of four unknown assailants just metres from the Container checkpoint near Bethlehem.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a car just metres from an Israeli checkpoint near the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Thursday afternoon, killing three passengers inside, according to Palestinian police.

The group of four assailants were driving an unmarked vehicle when they intercepted and opened fire on a car driving along the Wadi al-Nar Road, killing a young man and two young women.

Palestinian Authority Police spokesperson Louay Irzeiqat said that officers were on the scene and an operation had been launched to track down the attackers, though their identity was still unknown.

Footage emerged on social media of a grey 4x4 car, its windows smashed and its front damaged after seemingly crashing into the side of the road.

The shooting occurred just metres away from the "Container" checkpoint, also known as the Qidron crossing, where Israeli authorities control Palestinian movement between the north and south West Bank.

Irzeiqat did not suggest that the assailants were Israeli, while an Israeli military spokesperson denied any involvement by Israeli security forces.

The victims, who have not yet been named, were brought to Beit Jala Government Hospital following the attack.

In June, Palestinian 26-year-old Ahmed Erekat was shot dead by Israeli border police as he drove through the Container checkpoint, prompting outrage among Palestinians.

Read also: Israel normalisation deals reflect the rupture between repressive regimes and Arab societies

Erekat's family say he was rushing to his sister's wedding when he lost control of the car. However Israeli authorities claim Erekat appeared to be attempting to attack the border officers.

Palestinians criticised Israeli authorities for leaving Erekat to bleed out on the road, a video of which went viral on social media.

Israel has retained Erekat's body in a freezer since June, as part of a controversial policy of keeping the corpses of suspected Palestinian attackers to be used as political bargaining chips.

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