Two Palestinians were killed by live fire in clashes with Israeli soldiers near the city of Jenin in the West Bank on Thursday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, while another Palestinian died of his wounds after being shot by Israeli forces during clashes in Beita on Wednesday.
The deaths raised to six the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since Wednesday, raising fears of greater escalation following a string of deadly attacks in Israel and increased military operations in the West Bank.
The two Palestinians shot Thursday were killed during a raid in Kafr Dan, according to the ministry. The Israeli army said they were carrying out an arrest operation throughout the West Bank.
One of the casualties is Shas Kamamji, the brother of Iham Kamamji, one of the inmates who escaped from Gilboa prison in September. The second killed was identified as Mustafa Abu-Arub.
Additionally, four Palestinians were wounded during the clashes and taken to the hospital for treatment, with one in serious condition. According to the ministry, one of them is 17 years old.
The Israeli army said that rioters hurled improvised explosive devises at Israeli forces, who then responded with live fire. There were no casualties reported among the soldiers.
The Israeli army carried out raids throughout the night and morning, making arrests and confiscating weapons in several areas of the West Bank, including Balata, Hebron, and Beit Ummar. A total of 18 arrests were made, the army said.
- Once a Developing City, Jenin Has Turned Into a Terror Hotbed
- Palestinian Killed by Israeli Fire in Nablus Amid Renewed Violence at Holy Site
- Turkey Says Renewed Ties With Israel Will Be Impacted by Palestinian Issue
Fatah’s executive council convened a meeting and called for mass popular mobilization to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinian cities and towns, in a similar statement to that issued by rival Gaza-based factions hours before.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz was meanwhile set to hold a situation assessment with the heads of the country’s security and defense bodies aiming to reach a decision on whether to impose a closure of the West Bank over Passover. In a conversation with military journalists, Gantz said Thursday that authorities will “continue this activity over the coming days and we will work day, night, [and] holiday, [and] we will act responsibly.”
Eleven Palestinian have been killed by Israeli fire this past week.
Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the West Bank have been on the rise during the month of Ramadan. They follow a series of Israeli military raids which the army launched after a recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks took the lives of 12 Israelis and two Ukrainian nationals during the last three weeks.
On Wednesday, Qusai Fuad Hamamra, a 14-year-old resident of Husan, was reportedly shot after hurling a Molotov cocktail at Israeli troops at an army position in the center of town. Hundreds of Palestinians protested and threw stones at army vehicles on Wednesday evening.
That same day, Omar Muhammad Aliyan, 20, was killed by a shot in the chest by security forces during clashes in Silwad, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah.
Also Wednesday, a 34-year-old Palestinian activists and lawyer was killed in clashes with Israeli forces in Nablus, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, and at least 16 others were wounded.
Security forces also arrested four Palestinians north of Ramallah suspected of planning to carry out an attack in Israel on Passover, which starts this week.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement that the situation had become "very dangerous and sensitive.
"Israel's aggression and provocation, which are expressed in killing Palestinians, as we saw today in Nablus and in Husan, is a dangerous escalation, and the Israeli government bears responsibility for it," Rudeineh stated. "Things are deteriorating rapidly and this demands immediate international intervention in order to stop Israeli aggression and worse escalation."
The deputy chief of Hamas' political bureau, Saleh al-Arouri, subsequently issued a statement calling on Palestinians to escalate confrontations with Israel. "We call on members of the Palestinian people to block Israel's aggression throughout the West Bank, and on Palestinians in Ramallah and Al-Bireh to support their brothers in Silwad and all regions of the conflict and be a united front against the enemy," the statement read.
On Sunday, Israeli military forces shot dead a Palestinian woman in her 40s after she approached them in a "suspicious manner."