Two Palestinians killed in Israeli West Bank raid

Nearly 400 Palestinians have been killed in a surge in violence in occupied territories since the latest Israel-Gaza war began on October 7

Israeli border police take positions during a raid in November at the Balata refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest on Israel-Gaza

Two Palestinian men were shot dead in an Israeli raid on Sunday, in the Tulkarm refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Around 27,000 people live in Tulkarm, which is about 35km from the city of Nablus.

Their deaths bring the total number of Palestinians killed in violence in occupied territories since war erupted between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza to 398, one of the most violent periods in the West Bank in the decades-long conflict to date.

In Gaza, more than 29,000 people have been killed, most of them civilians, in relentless Israeli bombardments and a ground invasion triggered by the October 7 Hamas raid into southern Israel, which killed around 1,200 people.

But the post-October 7 flare-up of violence in the West Bank - which already followed one of the worst years there since an intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation in the early 2000s - has led to fears of worsening chaos.

Israeli raids, already a common occurrence prior to the latest Gaza war, have become a near-nightly occurrence, with civilians dying in increasing numbers.

The Palestinian health ministry said the two men killed in Sunday's raid, who were aged 19 and 36, were pronounced dead from gunshot wounds.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, identified the older of the pair as a local commander. His brother also said he was "a member of the resistance".

On Sunday EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described the situation as being at boiling point and warned that "we could be on the eve of a greater explosion".

At least five other people were wounded in the Israeli military operation, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The Israeli military said its forces were there to apprehend "a senior wanted suspect" believed to have been involved in attacks on its forces and the "killing of individuals in Tulkarm suspected of co-operating with Israeli security forces".

The suspect was killed by Israeli troops in an exchange of fire, then "armed terrorists opened fire and hurled explosive devices at Israeli security forces, who responded with live fire", the army said in a statement.

"During the exchange of fire, an Israel Border Police officer was severely injured" and taken to hospital, it added.

The Israeli military said on Friday that since the start of the Gaza war, its troops had arrested more than 3,100 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 1,350 Hamas members.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem - which it later annexed - as well as the Gaza Strip in 1967 during the Six-Day War.

Around three million Palestinians live in the territory alongside roughly 490,000 Israelis, who live in settlements deemed illegal under international law.

Updated: February 18, 2024, 5:54 PM