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Nearly simultaneous drive-by shootings, one at the Gush Etzion Junction and the other at the settlement of Eli in the northern West Bank, left three Israelis dead and five wounded Sunday and prompted the Defense Ministry to clamp down on the Palestinians and cut contacts with the Palestinian Authority.
Kinneret Mandel, 21, was buried at 10:30 a.m. Monday in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem next to her cousin, Matat (Rosenfeld) Adler, 21, from Carmel in the southern Hebron Hills, who was also killed in the terror attacks. Fifteen-year-old Oz Ben-Meir of Maon was buried at 9:00 a.m. at the regional cemetery in Sussia following a procession that commenced from Maon.
As of Monday morning four of the wounded in the shootings were still in hospital, two in critical condition, Israel Radio reported.
According to the IDF, just after 4 p.m. a Subaru slowed just before the Gush Etzion Junction bus stop some 12 km. south of Jerusalem, where commuters were awaiting transportation home. Two bursts of automatic gunfire mowed down a row of hitchhikers, killing Mandel and her cousin, Matat (Rosenfeld) Eldar, and Ben-Meir.
Barely 40 minutes later, outside the northern West Bank settlement of Eli, one young man was moderately wounded when a passing Palestinian vehicle opened fire on him and a friend, the police said.
An offshoot of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group linked with the PA's ruling Fatah party, claimed responsibility for both attacks. That followed a Palestinian Authority announcement Saturday night that it had thwarted 17 terrorist attacks on Israel. There was no official Palestinian reaction to the shootings.
The attack burst a flimsy "period of calm" between Israel and the Palestinians and threatened to return both sides to the bellicose positions they held before the death of Palestinian leader YasserArafat a year ago.
This was the first fatal shooting attack since June.