A serious escalation in the West Bank saw three Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in 24 hours alone: Two teens and a Palestinian Authority policeman.
Palestinian Health Minister Mai Alkaila said she had instructed all the hospitals in the West Bank to be prepared for possible casualties amid the violence. The IDF also announced on Thursday afternoon it was bolstering its presence in the area.
As tensions peaked there over the past couple of days, Jerusalem was also the site of violence. Two different attacks took place in the Israeli capital on Thursday. In the first attack, 12 Israeli soldiers were wounded after an attacker ran them over in Jerusalem's First Station area; one of the soldiers is in a serious condition.
In the second attack, a man tried to shoot Border Police officers near the city's Lion's Gate. He wounded one policeman lightly in the hand. Police officers fired back, shooting him to death at the scene. He was later named as Haifa resident Shadi Bana, 45.
Overnight Wednesday, a 19-year-old Palestinian identified as Yazan Abu Tabikh, a cadet in the Palestinian Police College in Jericho, was killed during clashes in the West Bank city of Jenin that had erupted after the Israeli military entered the city in order to carry out a security operation.
Palestinian Authority police officer Tarek Badwan had witnessed the clashes and was wounded alongside six other people. One other Palestinian was shot in the torso and three others were shot in the limbs. Badwan was evacuated to a hospital in Jenin to receive medical care, but later succumbed to his wounds on Thursday.
The Israeli military is investigating the incident. An initial investigation by the defense establishment into the Jenin altercations shows that the policeman was standing near a police station and had not posed a threat to Israeli soldiers operating in the city.
In a separate incident on Wednesday, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in the West Bank city of Hebron. The teen, identified as 17-year-old Mohammad al-Hadad, was shot in the chest and died after being evacuated to the city hospital, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Eyewitnesses said that al-Hadad was wounded during clashes in the neighborhood of Bab al-Zawiyah. Troops fired both live fire and rubber bullets, witnesses said.
In Bethlehem, 79 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with the Israeli army Thursday. The great majority sustained injuries due to tear gas inhalation, while four were shot by rubber bullets.
House demolition sparks tensions in Jenin
On Wednesday night, the Israeli army demolished the home of Palestinian prisoner Ahmed Qonba'a for the second time after it was initially demolished down in April 2018. Qonba'a was convicted of killing an Israeli settler in a drive-by shooting that took place in in January 2018.
Palestinian snipers opened fire on the Israeli troops who had been safeguarding the unit that carried out the house demolition; the IDF fired back at the snipers. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The army demolition was carried out despite the up-tick in violence in recent days, as right-wing groups have increased pressure on Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.
Addressing the incidents, Jenin Governor Akram Rajoub told Haaretz that Israel's "aggressive occupation" policy at this sensitive time will lead to further tension and escalation. He added that the Palestinian Authority police officer wounded in the incident was standing at the site of clashes and had not taken part in them.
Also on Wednesday overnight, 12 Israeli soldiers were wounded in what Israeli security forces have described as a suspected car-ramming attack in central Jerusalem. A manhunt is underway in the Bethlehem area to locate the suspect after he fled the scene and abandoned his car.
The incidents come amid a general uptick in violent incidents between Palestinians and Israeli security forces following the presentation of U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan.
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