Palestinian Civil Defence members work at the central vegetables market after an Israeli raid in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on May 30,2024. Image Credit: REUTERS

JERUSALEM: A car ramming attack killed two Israeli soldiers near the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army said early Thursday.

The army had earlier reported a car ramming attack on Wednesday near an Israeli settlement outside Nablus, without specifying who the victims were.

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It later identified them as soldiers Eliya Hilel and Diego Shvisha Harsaj, both 20 and members of the Kfir brigade.

According to Israeli media, the army has launched a manhunt for the perpetrator of the attack, which came as violence in the West Bank flares against the backdrop of Israel’s war against Hamas militants in Gaza.

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The deadliest-ever Gaza war was sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the Israeli army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,171 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Since the outbreak of the fighting, violence has surged in the West Bank.

According to Palestinian officials, at least 519 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli troops or settlers since October 7.

Not counting Wednesday’s victims, attacks by Palestinians have killed at least 12 Israelis in the West Bank over the same period, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Hamas welcomed the attack near Nablus, saying in a statement it was a “natural response” against the “crimes of the enemy”.