Five Palestinians killed in Israeli raids in West Bank

The Palestinian Authority has called for urgent dialogue to end the 'aggression against our people'

An Israeli checkpoint between the city of Nablus and the village of Beit Furik in the occupied West Bank on Monday. AFP
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Five Palestinians were shot dead in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in overnight raids while 20 others were wounded, the Palestinian Health Ministry has said.

The raid took place in Nablus, while another man was shot later in Ramallah, home to the Palestinian Authority's offices, the ministry said.

The Israeli army confirmed in a joint statement with police and intelligence agencies that they had conducted an operation in Nablus against a new militant group that calls itself the Lion’s Den.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told Kan public radio that Wadie Houh, a leader of the Lion’s Den group, was killed in a shootout with Israeli troops overnight. “Israel will never be deterred from acting for the sake of its security,” he said.

Israeli security forces raided a “hideout apartment … that was used as a headquarters and explosives manufacturing site”, the country's military said.

“The site was used by the main operatives of the Lion's Den terrorist group,” the Israeli army said. “During the activity, multiple armed suspects were hit and Palestinian reports indicate that were multiple injuries.”

Lion's Den, which announced its formation in August, also said in a statement that it had been involved in “violent clashes” with the Israeli army.

In recent days, the Israeli army has put up a cordon around Nablus to try to stop members of the group from launching attacks outside of the city, leaving only three routes for Palestinians to leave and enter, via checkpoints.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, the army said troops fired at a suspect who threw an explosive at them during an arrest raid near the village of Nebi Saleh. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported the death of 19-year-old Qusai Al Tamimi.

On Sunday, the militant group said that one of its commanders had been killed by an explosive device attached to a motorbike and blamed “collaborators” working with Israel for the killing.

In response to the early morning clash on Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will establish “urgent contacts in order to stop this aggression against our people”, his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah said.

Extremist group Islamic Jihad, which fought against Israel in Gaza in August, also said its “fighters were involved in violent clashes” with Israeli forces in Nablus and said there would be reprisals.

Violence has surged in recent months in the northern West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 by Israel, especially in the areas of Nablus and Jenin.

Israeli soldiers have stepped up operations in both cities since March after deadly anti-Israeli attacks.

The raids, often accompanied by clashes with the Palestinian population, have resulted in more than a hundred deaths on the Palestinian side, the highest death toll in the West Bank in about seven years, the UN has said.

Since the beginning of the month, more than 20 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers have been killed, according to an AFP report.

Amnesty International on Tuesday called for an International Criminal Court probe into possible “war crimes” committed by both Israeli and Palestinian militants in August during deadly fighting in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave under an Israeli blockade since 2007.

Thirty-one civilians were among the 49 Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip during the three-day conflict, the global rights group said in a report, which looked at three incidents in particular — two attributed to Israeli forces and one to Palestinian factions.

“The three deadly attacks we examined must be investigated as war crimes,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International's secretary general. “All victims of unlawful attacks and their families deserve justice and reparations.”

Updated: October 25, 2022, 7:26 AM