Anshel Pfeffer
September 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas on Thursday claimed responsibility for a shooting attack in which two Israelis were wounded, one of them seriously, in the West Bank.

Wednesday's roadside attack, near the Jewish settlement of Kochav Hashachar, occurred on the eve of face-to-face peace negotiations between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

"The attack was a message to those who pledged to the Zionist enemy that there would be no more attacks," said Hamas armed wing spokesman Abu Ubaida, referring to Abbas's U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority administration.

Gunmen from the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian Gaza Strip but has been curbed by Abbas's forces in the West Bank, killed four settlers in a similar attack on Tuesday and had vowed more violence to derail the talks.

Moshe Moreno, who was behind the wheel of the car targeted in Wednesday's drive-by shooting, said on Thursday morning it was a "miracle" that he and his wife, who was traveling with him, survived.

Moreno told Army Radio that they were returning home along Route 60 when another car approached very close behind them.

"I signaled to the driver that he was bothering me and that he should overtake but he took a long time to respond," Moreno said. "Then, as we came round a bend, he came past me and the shooting started."

The assailants fired continuously, hitting the car door at least 10 times, before an apparent weapons malfunction allowed the passengers to escape from their overturned vehicle, Moreno said.

"One of the guns seemed to jam and that gave us the chance to roll away and take cover. I knew that if they reached us, they would spray us with bullets at point blank range," he said.

The couple were able to telephone police, who conducted a sweep of the area and found the car riddled with bullet holes.


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