An Israeli bus driver killed two Palestinian workers this morning in an apparent hit-and-run incident in the occupied West Bank, reported Wafa news agency.
Palestinian security sources said the workers were struck by a bus, which had been empty of passengers, near a military checkpoint known as 300, located at the northern entrance to the occupied city of Bethlehem.
Thousands of Palestinians from the southern occupied West Bank must cross this barrier to work in occupied East Jerusalem.
The checkpoint was built more than a decade ago as part of Israel’s Separation Wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
The two young men killed were identified as 29-year-old Ziad Ali Hussein Abiyat, who was trapped beneath the bus and 30-year-old Jaafar Omar Abaya.
Five other Palestinians were injured in the incident, Shaher Saad, the Secretary-General of the Palestinians Workers Union, told Anadolu Agency.
Saad holds the Israeli authorities fully responsible for the incident by failing to “rehabilitate special garages to transport Palestinian workers to their work sites”.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said its medics had treated a number of injured Palestinians at the scene before they were rushed to the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, while another was taken to a West Bank hospital.
The bus was reportedly located by Israeli soldiers, however the driver apparently fled on foot.
Around 133,000 Palestinians with special permits work in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Many Palestinians are escaping high unemployment rates in the occupied West Bank, while others prefer to work in Israel for better wages – at times receiving more than double than what they would make in the West Bank.