Palestinian Killed in West Bank Clashes With Israeli Forces

Clashes also erupt on Gaza border as Hamas' Haniyeh says fighters found Israeli devices for finding tunnels.

A Palestinian during clashes with Israeli forces in Bil'in on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016.
Reuters

A Palestinian was killed in clashes with Israeli security forces Friday evening in Beit Fajar near Bethlehem in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Several more were wounded in clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza border, said Palestinian sources.

According to an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces operating in the village and burned tires. Two gunman also shot at the troops, who returned fire.

A Palestinian man, Khaled Yosef Takatka, 21, was critically wounded in the violence and evacuated to Hadassah Medical Center where doctors declared his death. Three other Palestinians were moderately wounded by gunfire according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Clashes also took place in the norther part of the Gaza border, near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where seven Palestinians were wounded by rubber bullets and smoke inhalation.

Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, deputy head of Hamas' politburo, said that the group's military wing found Israeli electronic equipment meant to find underground tunnels 10 days ago. Haniyeh delivered a sermon on Friday at a mosque in the Al-Shati refugee camp and said that the equipment included cameras and sensors.

He added that despite tensions, there is no immediate conflict between Israel and Hamas on the horizon. According to Haniyeh, "Israel is conducting defensive maneuvers" and is not planning on a new round of fighting in the near future.

Gaza, said Haniyeh, "has today a mechanism for deterrence [against Israel] but no [ability to create] a balance of deterrence." 

Haniyeh also addressed the negotiations between Israel and Turkey for the normalization of relations and said that there had been significant progress in gaining a sea port in Gaza. The establishment of a sea port and an airport in Gaza has been demanded by Hamas for several years.