Palestinians look at a damaged car following an Israeli raid in the West Bank village of Jaba, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. AP
The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the men as Ezzeddin Hamamrah, 24, and Amjad Khleleyah, 23. Jaba is south of Jenin, a town in the northern West Bank that has seen some of the heaviest fighting in nearly a year.
Palestinian security sources said that Israeli soldiers opened fire at a car near the Jaba intersection and then pursued it until nearby Fandakoumieh village where the soldiers continued to open fire at the car killing its two passengers, Hamamrah and Khleleyah, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.
The Israeli army claimed its soldiers opened fire in the village of Jaba after gunmen in a passing vehicle shot at them. They said that soldiers later confiscated an M-16 rifle from the vehicle.
Israel had earlier set up a checkpoint at the Jaba intersection, leading to clashes with local residents. The soldiers opened fire at the residents hitting one in the leg.
A third Palestinian, 19-year-old Yazen Samer Jaabari, died of his injuries after he was shot by Israeli forces earlier this month in Jenin.
Al-Jaabari was injured when Israeli troops stormed a village to demolish the homes of two Palestinian on January 2 in the village of Kafr Dan, near Jenin, in which two other Palestinians were killed, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh Saturday called for providing international protection for the Palestinian people, reported Wafa.
The latest deaths bring up to 12 the toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli army gunfire since the start of the year, including three minors.
Nearly 224 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces in 2022, including more than 150 of the fatalities were in the West Bank, making 2022 the deadliest for Palestinians in the West Bank in 18 years. according to Palestinian Health Ministry’s statistics.
Israel says the operations are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks.
But Palestinian stone-throwers, youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations also have been killed.
The Palestinians see the deadly attacks as the further entrenchment of Israel's 55-year, open-ended occupation of their land.
Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories the Palestinians want for their future independent state.
Israel has since settled 500,000 people in about 130 settlements across the West Bank, which the Palestinians and much of the international community view as an obstacle to peace.
*This story was edited by Ahram Online