Bomb kills Israeli teen, wounds two others in West Bank

Israel says homemade bomb kills 17-year-old girl, wounds her family members as they were visiting a spring near an illegal Jewish settlement in occupied Palestine.

JERUSALEM - A rare homemade bomb attack in the occupied West Bank killed one Israeli on Friday while seriously wounding her father and brother as they visited a spring in a popular hiking area near a Jewish settlement, officials said.

Israeli security forces deployed throughout the area of the attack near the settlement of Dolev, northwest of Ramallah, in a search for suspects.

Israeli medics had earlier reported that a 17-year-old had been critically wounded in the attack and officials later announced her death, naming her as Rina Shnerb from the central Israeli city of Lod.

Israel's Magen David Adom ambulance service confirmed that Shnerb had died at the scene and said her father and brother - named by Israeli media as Rabbi David Eitan, 46, and 21-year-old Dvir - were in serious condition.

The two wounded were taken by helicopter to hospital, the army said. Later in the day, Shnerb was buried in her hometown Lod, with thousands participating in the funeral.

"Three civilians who were in a nearby spring were injured in an IED (improvised explosive device) blast," the army said in a statement.

The Israeli military said it was being treated as a terrorist attack. It was not immediately clear if the device had been planted in advance or thrown.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "harsh terrorist attack" and sent condolences to the family, while pledging to continue Israel's settlement building program.

"The security arms are in pursuit after the abhorrent terrorists," he said in a statement. "We will apprehend them. The long arm of Israel reaches all those who seek our lives and will settle accounts with them."

David Friedman, the US Ambassador to Israel, tweeted that he was "heartbroken and outraged". President Donald Trump's envoy, Jason Greenblatt, urged the Palestinian Authority to "unequivocally condemn" the attack.

Gaza border tensions

Israel's Jewish settlement program is considered an obstacle to peace by the international community as it is against international law and a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The hilly central region of the West Bank around the illegal Jewish settlement of Dolev is studded with olive groves and orchards.

The area saw clashes last year between Palestinians and Israelis, as Palestinian villagers complained that Jewish settlers were making efforts to take over land, including water sources, with the backing of the Israeli government and military.

On Friday morning, Israeli occupation forces quickly cordoned off the area around the Ein Bobin spring near the Palestinian village of Deir Ibzi', while soldiers blocked roads and searched the area.

Israeli forces also entered the Palestinian village of Beitunia, south of the spring, to take footage from surveillance cameras. An AFP reporter said Palestinians clashed there with Israeli soldiers, but no casualties were reported.

An Israeli student, Danny Gonen, was killed at the same spring in 2015 in an attack claimed by a group that said it was affiliated with the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

In a speech on Friday, Ismail Haniya, the leader of Hamas, praised the attack but did not claim responsibility for it.

He referred to a recent clash between Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers at the highly sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem and drew a link between the two incidents, warning Israel not to "assault our Jerusalem and our sacred sites".

In a speech in Gaza he said: "I bless this operation and I greet the hands of those who executed it. I pray for God to protect those who stood behind it. Regardless of who they are, they are Palestinians."

Palestinian attacks on Israeli settlers and occupation forces occur sporadically in the West Bank, occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967, but bomb blasts have been rare in recent years.

The attacks have mostly involved guns, knives and car-rammings.

There have been concerns of a possible increase in violence in the run up to Israel's September 17 general election.

A week ago, a car-ramming attack in the occupied West Bank wounded two Israelis, while the assailant was shot dead.

On August 8, an off-duty Israeli soldier's body was found with multiple stab wounds. Two Palestinian suspects were later arrested.

There have also been tensions along the border with the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.

Late Thursday, a Palestinian threw grenades at Israeli soldiers while attempting to cross the fence separating the Gaza Strip and was shot by Israeli forces, leaving him wounded, the army and the Gaza health ministry said.

Gaza militants have also launched six missiles at Israel in the past week.

The most recent were on Wednesday and in retaliation the army said it struck "a number of military targets in a Hamas naval facility in the northern Gaza Strip".