During a pre-dawn Israeli military raid on the harsh Balata refugee camp in the city of Nablus, Israeli forces shot 21-year-old Ahmed Abu Junaid in the head and he died several hours later, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
The Israeli army reported an exchange of fire between Palestinian militants and Israeli security forces in the Balata refugee camp and acknowledged that one Palestinian had been hit by Israeli fire. Palestinian health officials said Israeli special forces surrounded a house in the overcrowded camp during the arrest and unleashed live fire, tear gas and stun grenades on a crowd of young men.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade — an armed militia affiliated with Fatah, the secular political party that controls the Palestinian Authority — claimed Abu Junaid as a fighter. Pictures of him brandishing a gun were shared massively on social media.
Later on Wednesday, a Palestinian assailant stabbed a 30-year-old Israeli in a settlement in the southern West Bank before being shot and killed by an Israeli passerby, Israeli paramedics said. The Israeli victim was hospitalized with minor injuries but remains fully conscious, authorities said. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the attacker as Sanad Samamreh from the southern Palestinian village of al-Dhahiriya.
The attack took place at the Havat Yehuda outpost, an illegal settlement near the flashpoint city of Hebron. Israel has built dozens of Jewish settlements that are home to about 500,000 Israelis who live in the occupied West Bank along with about 2.5 million Palestinians. The Palestinians and most of the international community view the settlements as a violation of international law.
Israeli military incursions into the West Bank have spiked since March last year, when the army began an operation to curb a spate of Palestinian attacks in Israel last spring that left 19 Israelis dead. At least 146 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in 2022 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Last year’s death toll was the highest since 2004, during a wave of intense violence known as the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising.
The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed are militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the raids and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.
Israel says the raids are designed to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see them as a further entrenchment of Israel’s 55-year unrestricted occupation of the West Bank.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Middle East War and the Palestinians are seeking those areas for a future state.