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Israel vows to expand Hebron settlement following shooting

JERUSALEM – Following the killing of two Israeli soldiers over the last three days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would expand a controversial Jewish settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron.

“We will continue to fight terrorism with one hand, and strengthen settlements with the other,’’ Netanyahu said.

In retaliation for the shooting of an Israeli soldier Sunday in Hebron, Netanyahu said he would allow for the immediate resettlement of Beit Hamachpela, a disputed building near Hebron’s Tomb of Patriarchs and Ibrahimi mosque.

Jewish settlers who occupied the building without permission were evicted last year by the Defense Ministry.

“Those who try to uproot us from Hebron, the city of our forefathers, will only achieve the opposite,” Netanyahu said.

Israel Defense Forces identified the soldier as Sgt. Gabriel Koby, 20, from Tirat Carmel. He was shot in the neck while patrolling Sunday. Israeli officials suspect he was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

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