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Israeli army kills 2 Palestinians in West Bank raid


Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinians in military raid in occupied West Bank

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians in a military raid in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry said. A local armed group said the two men were militants.

The deadly raid in the Nur Shams refugee camp near the city of Tulkarem was the latest in Israeli-Palestinian violence that has escalated since last year.

The ministry and Tulkarem branch of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group linked to President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah, identified the couple as Samer El Shafei and Hamza Kharyoush, both 22 years old.

The Israeli military said the two gunmen were suspected of carrying out a shooting attack in a nearby Israeli settlement earlier this week. An Israeli civilian was injured and vehicles were damaged in the shooting at the Jewish settlement of Avnei Hefetz.

Videos circulating on social media reportedly showed the lifeless bodies of the two gunmen lying on a tin roof as what appears to be Israeli security forces searched them. At one point, one of the Israeli forces attempted to knock over a body as he partially removed the dead man’s jeans.

Palestinian media, citing witnesses, said the soldiers left after making sure the two men were dead.

These deaths brought to 104 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year.

Israel has been staging near-night arrest raids on West Bank villages, towns and cities for more than a year in an operation sparked by a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis last year. Israel says the raids are intended to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see the attacks as further reinforcement of Israel’s 56-year and endless occupation of the lands they seek for a future independent state.

Some 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the raids began. Israel says most were militants, but young stone throwers and people not involved in the clashes were also killed.

During the same period, nearly 50 people were killed in Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.