Two Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in occupied West Bank

Two Palestinians were killed Thursday during Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank, reported the Ministry of Health in this Palestinian territory, which has been experiencing a bout of deadly violence for nearly a year.

The Israeli army confirmed having carried out an early morning raid in the Palestinian refugee camp of Qalandiya, between Ramallah and Jerusalem, and having identified a person hit by the shootings of its soldiers.

According to the Palestinian ministry, it is Samir Aouni Harbi Aslan, 41, killed “after a bullet fired by the Israeli occupation army passed through his chest”.

Another Palestinian, Habib Abdelrahmane Kamil, 25, was shot dead late in the day near Jenin in the northern West Bank, according to the same source.

The ministry said in a statement that he was killed “with live ammunition to the head” in Qabatiya. According to the official Palestinian agency Wafa, soldiers surrounded the house of a Palestinian militant in this village, where gunfire then took place.

The Israeli army said for its part that it carried out a raid in Qabatiya to arrest a suspect, but “the wanted suspect and another fled the scene”.

“Israeli forces fired at them. The wanted suspect was arrested and the other was hit” by a bullet, the army said in a statement, adding that, in an exchange of fire afterwards, Israeli soldiers fired on two other Palestinians.

These two deaths bring to eight the number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of the year in violence with Israeli forces or civilians in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

Dozens of men attended the funeral of Samir Aouni Harbi Aslan in the Qalandiya camp in the afternoon, AFP journalists noted.

The Israeli army said it had carried out an operation there in the morning, during which “suspects threw stones and cobblestones from roofs in the direction of the soldiers, putting their lives in danger”.

– Deadly year –

“The soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and live ammunition” and hit one person, the army added in a statement.

According to Mohammed Saed, a local official, Aslan was killed while trying to intervene during the arrest of his son by the Israeli armed forces. “He was killed in his house but he was not involved in the clash, he was just trying to defend his son,” Saed told AFP.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, 18 people were arrested overnight from Wednesday to Thursday in Israeli military operations in the West Bank.

The army notably carried out a raid in Nablus, during which two Palestinian journalists were injured, reported the Palestinian Red Crescent. They were admitted to Rafidia hospital in this northern West Bank town, according to an AFP photographer on site.

Armed Palestinians attend the funeral of Samir Aslan, 41, in the Qalandia refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on January 12, 2023 (AFP – AHMAD GHARABLI)

The year 2022 has been the deadliest in the West Bank since the end of the Second Intifada, the Palestinian uprising from 2000 to 2005, according to the UN.

According to an AFP count, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has killed at least 201 Palestinians (including 150 in the West Bank) and claimed the lives of at least 26 Israelis in 2022.

Since a wave of anti-Israeli attacks in March and April 2022, the army has stepped up operations in the areas of Jenin and Nablus, strongholds of armed Palestinian factions.

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