• APRIL 20, 2024

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in West Bank

  • Asia
  • Staff Correspondent
  • Published: 20 Feb 2024, 10:16 AM

Two Palestinian men, including a member of an armed group, were killed Sunday in an Israeli raid, while a third was shot at a checkpoint, in the latest violence in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian health ministry said the two, aged 19 and 36, were pronounced dead from gunshot wounds after the raid in the Tulkarm refugee camp, which the United Nations says houses over 27,000 Palestinian refugees.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party, identified the elder of the pair as a local commander.

His brother also called him "a member of the resistance".

The deaths came with international concern mounting about unrest in the West Bank since Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel sparked the Gaza war.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Sunday described the situation as being at boiling point and warned that "we could be on the eve of a greater explosion".

At least five other people were wounded in the Israeli military operation, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The Israeli military said its forces were there to apprehend "a senior wanted suspect" believed to have been involved in attacks on its forces and the "killing of individuals in Tulkarm suspected of cooperating with Israeli security forces".

The suspect was killed by Israeli troops in an exchange of fire, then "armed terrorists opened fire and hurled explosive devices at Israeli security forces, who responded with live fire", the army said in a statement.

"During the exchange of fire, an Israel Border Police officer was severely injured" and hospitalised, it added.

The military said later it had shot a suspect outside the city of Nablus who approached soldiers after getting out of a vehicle.

"Despite the soldiers calling out to the suspect and receiving no response, the suspect persisted in advancing towards them, prompting the soldiers to take action and neutralise him," a statement read.

Fatah said the man, a security officer, was "assassinated in cold blood" at the Beit Furik checkpoint outside Nablus, which is some 35 kilometres (22 miles) east of Tulkarm.

The Israeli military has stepped up its near daily raids across the West Bank in the aftermath of Hamas's October 7 attack.

It says the raids are aimed at dismantling Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas.

At least 399 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank since October 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The Israeli military said on Friday that since the start of the Gaza war, its troops had arrested more than 3,100 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 1,350 Hamas members.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem -- which it later annexed -- as well as the Gaza Strip in 1967 during the Six-Day War.

Around three million Palestinians live in the territory alongside roughly 490,000 Israelis in settlements deemed illegal under international law.

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