Israeli army kills 21-year-old Palestinian during West Bank raid


The death of Ahmed Abu Junaid brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in 2023 to five, including three children.

Israeli forces killed a 21-year-old Palestinian man on Wednesday during a raid on the West Bank, Palestinian health officials said, the latest casualty as violence continues to escalate in the occupied territory.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said 21-year-old Ahmed Abu Junaid succumbed to a head wound from a bullet during an Israeli army raid on the Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank town of Nablus.

His death brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in 2023 to five, including three children.

The Israeli army said it was conducting arrest raids in the West Bank early Wednesday. A gun battle broke out in the Balata refugee camp between Palestinian fighters and Israeli security forces, the army claimed, acknowledging that a Palestinian had been hit.

Palestinian health officials said Israeli special forces surrounded a house in the overcrowded camp and unleashed live fire, tear gas and stun grenades on a crowd of young men.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — an armed coalition affiliated with Fatah, the secular political party that controls the Palestinian Authority — claimed Abu Junaid as a fighter.

Since March 2022, Israeli military incursions into the West Bank have surged as the military cracked down on Palestinian men, mainly in refugee camps.

Several developments on the ground over the past year have indicated that the occupied West Bank is approaching a serious shift in its currently unsustainable political and security status quo, analysts told Al Jazeera.

At least 146 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

Last year’s death toll was the highest since 2004, during the second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising.

While many of last year’s deaths were civilians, the Israeli army’s raids and killings are carried out under the banner of crushing Palestinian armed resistance in the northern occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians have seen them as a further entrenchment of Israel’s 55-year unrestricted occupation of the West Bank.

A new, far-right Israeli government sworn in last month has taken punitive measures against Palestinians, including a ban on their flag in public places.

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