The military said in a statement that the pair, who were in their 40s, came under fire from a passing vehicle while driving on the Route 60 highway, close to the Beit Hagai junction.
The vehicle was hit by at least 22 rounds, with another three bullet impacts found nearby, according to the military’s initial investigation.
The military said it launched a manhunt for the terrorists and closed off a number of roads in the area. The military was questioning Palestinians entering and leaving al-Khalil.
Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said the woman was declared dead at the scene shortly afterward.
The wounded man was taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for treatment, where he was listed in serious condition, medical officials said.
A 6-year-old girl, who was in the car during the attack, was unharmed.
Hebrew-language media outlets reported that the slain woman and her young daughter had hitched a ride with the Israeli man who was wounded in the attack.
The Gaza-based Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movements said the attack was a response to Israel’s expanding settlement enterprise in the West Bank but stopped short of claiming responsibility.
Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for Hamas, stated that valiant Palestinian fighters, who effectively conduct acts of resistance in the northern and central parts of the West Bank, carried out a heroic operation in the southern part on Monday.
He said that the shooting is a natural response to the Israeli regime’s religious war on Palestinians’ sanctities as well as its illegal settlement expansion policies in al-Quds and across the West Bank.
Qassem added that young Palestinian fighters can skillfully circumvent the Israeli security apparatus, despite a heightened state of alert in effect.
The attack came two days after two Israeli men were shot dead in a retaliatory operation by a Palestinian gunman south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
Magen David Adom ambulance service said the victims were a 60-year-old man and his 29-year-old son. They were shot in the Palestinian town of Huwara. Paramedics said the two were targeted inside a carwash.
The Palestinian man is believed by the Israeli army to have approached the carwash on foot and opened fire at the two Israeli men with a handgun, according to a preliminary investigation. It was unclear how he fled.
Israeli forces launch raids on various cities of the West Bank on an almost daily basis under the pretext of detaining what they call “wanted” Palestinians. The raids usually lead to violent confrontations with residents.
More than 200 Palestinians have been killed this year in the occupied Palestinian territories and Gaza. The majority of these fatalities have been recorded in the West Bank.