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Israeli forces kill 3 Palestinian gunmen in West Bank


Israeli forces on Sunday shot and killed three Palestinian gunmen who opened fire on troops in the occupied West Bank, the army said, the latest bloodshed in a year-long wave of violence in the region.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, claimed the slain men as members.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the men were killed by Israeli fire near the city of Nablus and identified them as Jihad Mohammed al-Shami, 24, Uday Othman al-Shami, 22, and Mohammed Raed Dabeck, 18 years old.

The military said it confiscated three M16 rifles from militants after the shooting and a gunman surrendered and was arrested.

Sunday’s deaths bring to 80 the number of Palestinians killed since the start of the year, as Israel stepped up arrest raids in the West Bank. A wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis left 14 dead in 2023.

The new violence follows an Israeli military raid last week on the West Bank village of Jaba, where three Palestinian militants were killed. Hours later, a Palestinian sniper opened fire on a busy Tel Aviv thoroughfare at the start of the Israeli weekend, injuring three people before being shot dead.

The current round of violence is one of the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank in years. It began last spring after a series of Palestinian attacks on Israelis sparked near-night Israeli raids in the West Bank.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Palestinian attacks on Israelis during the same period killed 30 people.

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

Israel says the raids are key to dismantling militant networks and preventing future attacks. But the attacks seem to be intensifying rather than slowing down.

The Palestinians see the raids as a tightening by Israel of its 55-year and endless occupation of the lands they seek for their future state.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. Palestinians seek these territories for their future independent state.

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.