Two Palestinians were critically wounded yesterday by Israeli military fire in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said, amid heightened tensions in the occupied territory.
One Palestinian was hit by “live bullets to the chest” during clashes with Israeli troops in the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, southwest of Nablus, the ministry said, adding that another was also critically wounded.
Both were taken to hospital in the nearby town of Salfit.
The Israeli army said in a statement that “suspects hurled rocks” at soldiers who responded to “a violent riot” near Qarawat Bani Hassan.
The latest violence follows an Israeli raid in the flashpoint city of Jenin on Friday that left two Palestinian dead.
Hours later Israeli troops killed a Palestinian accused of firing shots at the Beit El settlement in the occupied West Bank, wounding a resident.
The Palestinian health ministry identified the dead man as 23-year-old Qais Shajaeyah.
The Israeli army said yesterday it arrested a “second suspect involved in the shooting attack”, 19-year-old Mohamed Odeh.
Odeh, an alleged member of Hamas group, was apprehended “along with two additional suspects” accused of involvement in the shooting, the army added.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, on Friday had called on “our resistance... to continue their steadfastness and their heroism with all means”.
Violence has surged in recent months in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, amid near daily West Bank raids and an uptick in attacks on Israeli troops. More than 100 Palestinian fighters and civilians have been killed since the start of the year, the heaviest toll in the West Bank for nearly seven years, according to the United Nations.
The expansion of military operations in Jenin and elsewhere in the West Bank followed deadly attacks on Israelis earlier this year. Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.
Around 475,000 Israelis now live in settlements across the territory, which are considered illegal by most of the international community. They live alongside some 2.8mn Palestinians, who in different areas of the West Bank are subject to Israeli military rule or live under limited Palestinian governance.
A Palestinian youth checks a room in his house in the village of Deir Jarir, east of the West Bank city of Ramallah, after Israeli soldiers raided the residence at dawn yesterday, looking for a suspected accomplice of a fighter who fired toward the Beit El settlement and wounded a resident.