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Brosh (Palestinian Territories) - An Israeli man was bludgeoned to death and a woman injured in an apparent militant attack by Palestinians on their West Bank home, police said early on Friday.
It was the third violent death of an Israeli in the occupied territory in less than three weeks.
“They were beaten with blunt instruments,” at Brosh, in the northern Jordan valley, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, adding the assumption was “definitely” of a militant attack.
The army said roadblocks had been set up in the area of the attack and, hours after the killing, security forces were still sweeping the rocky surroundings for the perpetrators.
Police stopped media at the gates of the property and prevented them from entering.
Israeli public radio said the couple were in their home at about 1.00am (22.00 GMT) when they heard a noise outside and the sound of dogs barking.
The man went outside to investigate and was attacked with iron bars and axes by two Palestinians, it reported. His wife was also injured but escaped and raised the alarm.
The radio said the couple lived alone at the isolated property, which they ran as a village guest house.
There were no visitors at the time, it said.
The website of Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the dead man was a retired army colonel and that the couple were in their 50s.
News website Ynet cited a witness as saying as the woman was taken to an ambulance she cried out, “Leave me, go to him, help him.”
Local council leader David Elhayani said he reached the scene about half an hour after the assault.
“It was a brutal murder,” he told public radio.
“At the moment everybody's assessment is that this was a (Palestinian) nationalist attack whose goal was murder.
“Even after the woman fled the house they ran after her calling out to one another in Arabic 'Where is she?'“
Ynet said the woman crawled through the darkness alone and with no mobile telephone before reaching a main road where she flagged down a passing motorist.
The incident occurred less than a week after a nine-year-old Israeli girl was lightly wounded as she played in her garden in the West Bank settlement of Psagot, near Ramallah.
Her injuries have been described both as gunshot and stabbing. Two young Palestinian suspects were arrested on Monday, Haaretz reported.
On September 22 an Israeli soldier was shot dead in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, in what the army believes was a Palestinian sniper attack, although no suspects have been arrested.
A day earlier a 20-year off-duty soldier was found murdered near the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. A Palestinian arrested as a suspect has reportedly confessed, but the motive and circumstances of the killing are still unclear.
Israel's hardline deputy defence minister, Danny Danon, said he string of events were all a result of what he called official “Palestinian incitement” to violence against Israelis.
He called into question the continuation of low profile peace talks between the sides and the expected release of more Palestinian prisoners as talks progress.
“I think there's room to consider whether to carry on the negotiations, carry on the release of terrorists,” he told public radio.
“If we need to stop for a number of months; to fight terror and stop the incitement, then that's what we need to do.” - AFP