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2 Palestinians killed in separate episodes in latest West Bank violence

By JULIA FRANKEL (Associated Press)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli security forces killed an 18-year-old Palestinian during a military raid into the northern West Bank on Friday, Palestinian health officials said, while another Palestinian was killed when Israeli settlers stormed a village and sparked fighting with residents.

The deaths marked the latest bloodshed in a monthslong surge of violence that has gripped the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that Mahmoud Abu Saan, 18, was shot in the head by Israeli forces in the city of Tulkarem. The raid drew protests from residents, the local branch of Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group reported, with Israeli forces shooting tear gas, stun grenades and live fire and Palestinians hurling stones and explosives at the soldiers.

The Israeli army said it shot at those who attacked them. It said it arrested five Palestinians in other West Bank villages, confiscating explosives and also dispersing protests.

Later Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said that armed Israeli settlers had entered the village of Burqa, east of the city of Ramallah, and shot and killed 19-year-old Qusai Matan. The Palestinian Red Crescent said Matan, who was shot in the neck, died shortly after reaching the hospital.

The Israeli army said it was looking into the reports.

Palestinian Authority official Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlements, said that dozens of Israeli settlers burst into the village, setting fire to two cars and opening fire at Palestinian protesters who poured into the street to throw stones. Another two Palestinians were shot and wounded by the settlers, he said.

The office of Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh demanded that the perpetrators “not be allowed to escape punishment.”

Violence has spiraled in the northern West Bank with the rise of shooting attacks by Palestinian groups against Israelis and daily arrest raids by the Israeli military, and growing attacks by extremist Jewish settlers.

The surge in fighting is one of the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in nearly two decades. More than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023 in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

Israel says most killed have been militants who died during military raids, but stone-throwing youths protesting army raids and innocent bystanders have also been killed.

At least 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis so far this year.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.


Associated Press reporter Isabel DeBre in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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