Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli soldiers shot dead a settler and wounded two others when they opened fire on a car at a roadblock south of Hebron on Friday, the army and settler leaders said.

"Soldiers who had been warned of a suspicious vehicle opened fire, killing one Israeli and wounding two others," a military spokesman told AFP.

The car, driving from the Haggay settlement towards Hebron, had failed to stop at a barrier specially erected to intercept it following an alert, the spokesman said.

The settler was among the founders of nearby Otniel settlement, its spokesman, Yehuda Glick, told Israel's Army Radio. Israeli news site Ynet named him as 55-year-old Rabbi Dan Martzbach. Glick said that the settler and the two others in his car were driving to early morning prayers in Hebron.

While the army was treating the casualties at the scene, a Palestinian truck passing by lightly wounded a soldier but, according to the spokesman, the military believes the act was not intentional.

The army has opened a probe into Friday's incident.

A representative of the soldiers' division told reporters, Israeli daily Haaretz reported, that the forces investigating a suspicious vehicle at 5.30 a.m. "did not manage to set up a checkpoint in time, and so they signaled to the vehicle to stop. The vehicle did not stop and an IDF soldier fired eight shots at it..."

"We will investigate why the soldiers opened fire, because according to instructions on opening fire, soldiers are not supposed to shoot at a moving vehicle."

Palestinians have been the victims of similar shootings in the past, accusing Israeli soldiers of opening fire without warning on vehicles they consider suspect.

In Jan. 2010, four Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces in separate incidents at checkpoints in the West Bank.

Some 500,000 Israelis currently live in illegal settlements dotted throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since a 1967 war.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inner cabinet decided to speed up construction of Jewish settlements in annexed East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank, a day after the UN cultural organization UNESCO accepted Palestine as a full member.


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