A 19-year-old Palestinian man was killed overnight on Saturday and three others were wounded during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, Palestinian sources said.
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The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately acknowledge the death of Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Halifa, saying only that soldiers fired at residents throwing pipe bombs and that two Palestinians were wounded.
An IDF force entered the refugee camp of Jenin on Saturday night to make arrests, but was met by dozens of youths who threw stones and firebombs at them. The soldiers responded by firing tear gas, sponge-tipped bullets and live bullets. Abu Halifa was shot and died shortly afterward at Jenin Government Hospital, which also treated the three wounded people.
A medical official in Jenin said Abu Halifa was hit in his upper body, but it was not clear whether he had been hit in the chest or the back. No autopsy was performed and he was buried on Sunday afternoon. The hundreds attending the funeral calling out condemnations of the occupation and for resistance to continue.
Jenin residents said Abu Halifa was the 23rd resident of the northern West Bank city to be killed since security incidents began to intensify in October 2015.
A friend of Abu Halifa’s told Haaretz that the deceased had celebrated his birthday with friends on Saturday evening. “He always talked about his desire to meet God, and even wrote about it on his Facebook page,” the friend said.
At night Abu Halifa went out to the central area of the camp known as “the plaza” – an open area where young people always gather. “You have to remember that most of the youths are unemployed and have no framework, so they can hang out until the wee hours in the streets and alleys, and any entrance by an Israeli military vehicle could lead to a confrontation,” the friend said.
Some Palestinian reports said Abu Halifa was shot by an undercover force or soldiers wearing civilian clothes who were discovered by the youths, resulting in a clash that lasted several hours.
Residents in the refugee camp said that army raids on the camp have become routine over the past few weeks. They said there was a fairly extensive raid last Thursday, which triggered serious clashes in which a soldier was hurt and three Palestinians were wounded by live fire.
The IDF said that a paratroop force had operated in the Jenin refugee camp on Saturday night, adding that it was the third day in a row in which firebombs were thrown at the soldiers during their operations. On Thursday, a soldier suffered light to moderate injuries after being hit by an improvised device, the army said.
On Saturday night, the soldiers reported shooting at two figures throwing pipe bombs at them, and that Abu Halifa had been one of them, the army said.