Israel kills 3 Palestinians in West Bank, days after major offensive

AP , AFP , Saturday 8 Jul 2023

Israeli occupation forces killed three Palestinians, in new West Bank violence on Friday, days after Israel concluded a major two-day attack on Jenin.

Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of Hamza Maqbool, 32, rear and Khayri Shaheen, 34, during their funeral in the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 7, 2023. AP


The persistent violence raised questions about the effectiveness of the raid earlier this week in the Jenin refugee camp, which saw Israel launch airstrikes, deploy hundreds of troops and cause widespread damage to roads, homes and businesses. Twelve Palestinians were killed in the Israeli operation.

In the nearby city of Nablus, the West Bank's commercial capital and a flashpoint city, two Palestinians were killed in a gunbattle with Israeli forces. Israel's Shin Bet security agency said the men were behind a shooting attack this week on a police vehicle.

On Friday, Palestinian health officials said a man was fatally shot in the chest by Israeli occupation forces during a demonstration in Umm Safa, a town in the central West Bank.

The ministry identified the two dead in Nablus as Khayri Mohammed Sari Shaheen, 34, and Hamza Moayed Mohammed Maqbool, 32. Two Palestinian resistance groups, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, claimed them as members.

In the aftermath of the shootout, bullet casings littered the blood-stained ground.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant praised Friday's operation and said Israel would continue to act to root out militants.

Friday's deaths are part of a year-long spiral of Israeli violence that shows no signs of abating, despite the fierce Israeli operation this week in the Jenin refugee camp. A shooting on Thursday by a Hamas member near an Israeli West Bank settlement killed an Israeli soldier.

Monday's raid in the Jenin refugee camp bore the hallmarks of the second Palestinian uprising, a period of intense resistance in the early 2000s that killed thousands. But the current round of fighting remains different from that one, mainly because it is more limited in scope, with Israeli military operations focused on several strongholds of Palestinian groups.

Israel has been staging raids in the occupied West Bank for 16 months, expanding its activities in early 2022. The northern West Bank, which includes Nablus and Jenin and where the Palestinian Authority has less of a foothold, has been a major friction point.

At least 190 Palestinians, and 26 Israelis, have been killed this year, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources from both sides.

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