Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinians, down Hamas drone

AFP , Tuesday 4 Apr 2023

Israeli forces killed two Palestinian during a clash in the occupied West Bank on Monday, militant factions and medics said, and shot down a drone over the Gaza Strip.

Hamas drone
File photo: This file photo taken on Dec. 29, 2020, shows a view of an unmanned aerial vehicle of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas flying above Gaza City during military drills by Hamas and other Palestinian armed factions. AFP



Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip said they fired missiles at an Israeli warplane after it shot their drone down.

The violence followed a weekend of deadly Israeli attacks which ended a relative calm since the start of the holy month of Ramadan 10 days ago.

In the West Bank city of Nablus, "two martyrs (were) shot by the occupation", the Palestinian health ministry said. It later named them as Mohammed Abu Bakr and Mohammed al-Hallaq, without giving their ages.

At their funeral processions, an AFP journalist saw thousands of Palestinians march through the streets of Nablus, parading their bodies. Gunshots were fired in the air.

Local militant group the Lions' Den claimed the two men as members and confirmed in a statement that its fighters had been involved in "confronting the (Israeli) occupation forces' storming of the city of Nablus".

The Israeli army said it carried out the raid to apprehend two individuals linked to a shooting attack last month in which two Israeli soldiers were injured in the West Bank town of Huwara.

"During the activity, a number of armed gunmen fired at the forces who responded with live fire," the army statement said.

Two people were arrested, it added.

Three Palestinians were also injured during separate Israeli army raids on Deheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem and the town of Kufr Nimeh west of Ramallah.

Israeli forces have carried out regular raids in the West Bank including several in the militant stronghold of Nablus, where the Lions' Den emerged over the past months.

Gaza missiles

The Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, said in a statement that it "mourns the martyrdom of two Palestinian freedom fighters" in what it called Israel's "storming" of Nablus.

Hamas said it had fired "a number of surface-to-air missiles" at an Israeli war plane after it shot down one of the group's drones.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military confirmed to AFP that "a number of shoulder-fired missiles were launched toward the fighter jet", adding that "no injuries were reported and no damage was done".

Less than 24 hours earlier, Israeli police shot dead an Arab Israeli in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem.

During a phone call, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna reminded her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen of "the necessity of refraining from all unilateral measures, particularly in the matter of settlements", the foreign ministry in Paris said.

It also cited the need to "respect the commitments" made last month in Egypt, and the previous month in Jordan, when Israeli and Palestinian officials agreed to restore calm.

The West Bank is home to hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers who live in state-approved settlements considered illegal under international law.

Similarily, about 230,000 Israelis live in occupied east Jerusalem, along with at least 360,000 Palestinians living in the same areas.

Since the start of the year, Israel has claimed the lives of at least 93 Palestinians.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online

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