JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli security forces stormed into a town in the north of the West Bank on Tuesday, leading to fighting that killed a 17-year-old Palestinian, according to Palestinian health officials, the latest violence to grip the occupied territory.
The Israeli military conducted an arrest raid before dawn in the town of Zababdeh south of Jenin, local medics said. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that 17-year-old Othman Abu Kharj was fatally shot in the head. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group claimed Abu Kharj as a fighter.
The raid came as Israeli security forces were still searching for the Palestinian gunman who carried out a shooting in the northern Palestinian city of Hawara that killed an Israeli father and son on Saturday.
The Israeli military said its forces arrested 15 Palestinian suspects in several northern West Bank towns. In Zababdeh, Israeli security forces said they opened fire at residents who threw explosive devices at them.
In the southern West Bank, the Israeli army captured two Palestinians who were suspected in a shooting the day before that killed an Israeli woman and seriously wounded a man. The Israeli military said the two suspects confessed during interrogation to involvement in the attack near the Palestinian city of Hebron. Israeli security forces said they also confiscated the rifle used to shoot at the car on Monday. A car without a license plate that was allegedly used to carry out the attack was found burned north of Hebron, said mayor of the town of Halhoul.
Palestinian media identified the two suspects arrested near Hebron as Saqer and Muhamad al-Shantir.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government has come under pressure from coalition members that want to exert more control over the occupied West Bank and take harsher measures against Palestinians.
In response to the spasm of violence, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he was ordering authorities to ensure that the family members of the Palestinians who carried out the deadly shooting in Hebron were banned from obtaining entry permits into Israel, where day wages are roughly double what people typically earn in the West Bank.
The Israeli military said that its forces further conducted large-scale searches and arrest raids throughout the West Bank, interrogating 20 Palestinians, confiscating illegal vehicles and arresting an additional 13 suspects near Hebron.
Nearly 180 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank since the start of this year, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Israel says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But stone throwing youths protesting the incursions and those not involved in the confrontations have also been killed.
Some 30 people have been killed by Palestinian attacks against Israelis during that time.
Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. Palestinians say the raids undermine their security forces, inspire more militancy and entrench Israeli control over lands they seek for a hoped-for future state. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
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