Palestinians: Israeli army kills 4 in West Bank violence

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, the latest violence to shake the region after months of unrest.

Late Thursday, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian youth near the city of Ramallah and wounded three others, the ministry said. The Israeli military said it fired at Palestinians who threw rocks and paint bottles at Israeli cars traveling on a West Bank road. “Hits were identified,” it said without providing further details.

Earlier in the day, three Palestinians were killed when the Israeli military was carrying out an arrest raid in the flashpoint city of Jenin in the northern West Bank. The army said forces came under fire and then responded with live fire.

Jenin, and its adjacent refugee camp, are a stronghold for Palestinian militants and Israel has stepped up raids there in recent months.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that “confrontations and violent clashes” erupted between residents of Jenin and the Israeli forces.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the three men as Atta Shalabi, 46, Tarek al-Damj, 29, and Sedki Zakarneh, 29. It was not immediately clear if they were affiliated with a militant group.

Old photos circulating on social media showed two of the three Palestinians who were killed posing with rifles. Palestinian media also shared footage showing an ambulance hit by Israeli gunshots in Jenin.

Palestinian factions in the city called for a general strike to mourn the dead and show solidarity with their families.

On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian militant who opened fire at them near the West Bank settlement of Ofra.

More than 140 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2006.

The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting Israeli army incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.

Israel has been conducting daily arrest raids throughout the West Bank, in an operation prompted by a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the spring.

The military says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks, but the Palestinians say they entrench Israel’s open-ended occupation, now in its 56th year.

At least 30 people have died in Palestinian attacks in Israel and the occupied West Bank this year.