3 Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in separate clashes

The Israeli army carried out an arrest operation in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank and killed two Palestinians in shootings on Friday, according to Palestinian reports.

Later Friday, soldiers killed a Palestinian who had carried out a shootout near a settlement, wounding an Israeli civilian, the army said.

It was the latest bloodshed in what has become the territory’s deadliest year since 2015.

Palestinian armed groups have claimed the two men killed in the Jenin refugee camp as members, although there have been conflicting statements about the circumstances surrounding the death of one of them, a doctor from the ‘hospital.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Dr Abdullah al-Ahmed was on duty tending to the injured outside his hospital when he was shot.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed wing of the secular Fatah party, claimed he was a member. In a poster announcing his death, the group said he died “in an armed clash” with Israeli forces “defending the homeland”. The poster showed him posing with two assault rifles.

The second man killed Friday in Jenin was identified by the armed group Islamic Jihad as a field commander. The camp is a stronghold of Islamic Jihad, a rival of Fatah, and has been a frequent focus of clashes.

Five people were injured in the fighting, including two paramedics as an ambulance was caught in the crossfire, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. Video showed an ambulance stuck in a narrow alley in the camp trying to retrieve a corpse as gunshots rang out.

The Israeli army said it entered Jenin on Friday to arrest a gunman wanted by Hamas who had carried out recent attacks on Israeli security forces. Diaa Muhammad Yusef Salama, 24, was armed with an M-16 assault rifle when Israeli security forces apprehended him and two other suspects, he added.

The raid sparked a firefight between soldiers and armed Palestinians. Photos showed smoke billowing from the camp after gunmen apparently detonated explosives. The army said it opened fire on the gunmen and warned uninvolved residents that they risked their lives by being in the area.

At one point, a shooting broke out outside the local hospital, witnesses said. The doctor who worked in the licensing department was shot in the head as he left the building to attend to an injured man in the hospital yard, hospital director Wisam Bakr said , adding that he knew nothing about reports that al-Ahmed belonged to an armed group.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called Friday’s shooting “extrajudicial executions”.

“The Israeli government has crossed all red lines,” he said.

On Friday evening, the Israeli army said it killed a Palestinian assailant who opened fire and injured a civilian near the Israeli settlement of Beit El, outside the Palestinian city of Ramallah. He said a search was underway for other suspects.

Settler attacks

Also on Friday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian homes in the northern West Bank village of Hawara, the Wafa news agency reported. Videos posted online showed settlers from a nearby Jewish settlement throwing stones at a house in the village.

Other videos showed Israeli soldiers brawling with Palestinians trying to protect settler homes.

Palestinian medics said 66 people were injured in clashes with Israeli forces, including two from live ammunition. Most suffered from breathing difficulties due to tear gas.

A day earlier, settlers from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar ransacked the village.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2015. Fighting has increased since a series of Palestinian attacks in the spring killed 19 people in Israel.

Israel says most of the Palestinians killed were gunmen. But young stone throwers protesting the incursions and others not involved in the clashes were also killed.

Israel says the raids are necessary to dismantle militant networks at a time when Palestinian security forces are unable or unwilling to do so.

The Palestinians say the raids undermine their security forces and aim to cement Israel’s 55-year indefinite occupation of the lands they want for the state they hope for. Hundreds of Palestinians were arrested in these raids, many of whom were placed in so-called administrative detention, allowing Israel to detain them without trial or charge.

Tensions flared in East Jerusalem this week, as Israeli police fired live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians throwing rocks and setting off fireworks in several neighborhoods of the disputed city. Two Israelis were injured in the clashes, Israel Police said on Friday, adding that security forces had arrested 18 suspects on charges of disturbing public order.

Police said they have stepped up their presence in sensitive areas of the city.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek these territories for the independent state they hope for.

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