RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Five Palestinians, including two police officers, were killed in two overnight shootings in the West Bank, Palestinian police said Thursday.
Police spokesman Loaie Izrekat said that 16 others were injured in the shootings. The incidents underscore the inability of Palestinian police to crack down on widespread illegal gun possession in the West Bank.
In one incident, a Palestinian shot at the home of a police officer in the town of Nablus. When police arrived to investigate, they came under fire and two officers were killed, Izrekat said.
Three more Palestinians were killed in a shootout between two clans that was sparked by an argument over a wedding hall in the town of Yaabad in the northern West Bank, according to Izrekat. He said the argument escalated into clashes, with rival clans setting houses alight and firing at each other in the street. Palestinian police imposed a curfew on Yaabad to restore order.
Gun violence is rampant in the West Bank, Izrekat said. Recently the house of Nablus mayor Ghassan Shakeh came under fire. The late governor of Jenin Qadura Mussa died of a heart attack after assailants fired at his home in 2012. He had attempted to crack down on weapons dealing.
Irzekat said Palestinian police face a unique challenge because they do not control about 60 percent of the West Bank known as Area C, where the majority of Israeli settlers live. He said most guns in the West Bank originate in Israel.