Israeli forces kill Palestinian militant in West Bank clash

by Will Tubbs

JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian militant on Saturday in clashes that broke out in the occupied West Bank during a raid in the hometown of a gunman who had carried out a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have soared in the run-up to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with both sides warning against escalation. Deadly incidents have since surged.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said 13 people were wounded in Saturday’s exchange of fire in the city of Jenin. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed the man killed as a member of the militant group.

The Israeli military said its soldiers were conducting a counter-terrorism operation in the area and had opened fire at Palestinian assailants who shot at them.

Residents said the troops had surrounded the home of a man who on Thursday night opened fire in a Tel Aviv bar and killed three Israelis. He was shot dead a few hours later in a firefight with Israeli security forces.

It was unclear whether the soldiers made any arrests at his home on Saturday.

Thursday’s shooting brought the number of people killed in a string of Arab and Palestinian attacks in Israel over the past month to 14, the sharpest rise in such violence since 2016, which Israeli leaders have described as “a new wave of terrorism”.

Jenin is considered a stronghold of Palestinian militants and Israel has mounted a number of raids in the city in the past two weeks.

More than 20 Palestinians, many of whom were militants, have been killed by Israeli forces since January.

Palestinians have also reported near-daily incidents of Jewish settler violence across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014 while Jewish settlements have expanded in areas the Palestinians want as part of an independent state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday condemned the Tel Aviv attack.

But he also warned of the dangers of Israeli provocations at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a perennial point of tension, days after a far-right Israeli lawmaker visited the compound, holy to both Muslims and Jews.

Friday’s Ramadan prayers, however, ended peacefully.

Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters