4 Israelis Killed On Eve Of Mideast Peace Talks

Hamas is claiming responsibility for an attack that killed four Israelis near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Tuesday. It was the worst terrorist attack in the area in many months, and it came on the eve of Mideast peace talks in Washington.

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Four Israelis were killed in a shooting attack today in the West Bank, just two days before Israeli and Palestinian leaders are set to launch direct peace talks. The militant Islamist movement Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sheera Frenkel reports from Jerusalem.

SHEERA FRENKEL: Israeli television says the four Israelis were shot dead by unknown gunmen outside the West Bank city of Hebron, in what a military spokeswoman called a pinpoint attack. The two men and two women, one of whom was pregnant, were shot while travelling in their car. Israeli police said the car was sprayed with bullets, and that the attackers then fled the scene.

In a similar attack in June of this year, an Israeli police officer was killed at a highway junction near Hebron. Israeli police say they are investigating potential links between the two attacks.

The Israeli military closed off the scene of the shooting and was working with Palestinian security forces to comb the area.

Hamas spokesman said the group's armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, carried out the attack. A Hamas spokesman called it a natural response to the crimes of the occupation.

For NPR news, I'm Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem.

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