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4 Palestinian Lives Lost in Israeli Raid in the Occupied West Bank

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Four Palestinians, including a boy, were killed in an Israeli army raid near Jenin in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian officials said.

It is the latest bloodshed in a year-long wave of violence in the region.

The Israeli army confirmed that its forces were operating in the city of Jenin on Thursday and said later that the forces had killed two wanted Islamic Jihad militants and a third person who was killed “after he tried to attack the forces with a crowbar”.

Jenin is among areas of the West Bank that have seen heavy Israeli raids over the past year, as tensions mount over the Palestinians’ long-stalled aspirations for statehood.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said 23 others were wounded in the raid on Jenin on Thursday, five of them seriously.

Three of the dead were identified as Youssef Shureim (29 years old), Nidal Kazem (28 years old) and Omar Awadin (16 years old). The identity of the fourth dead man was not immediately known.

Amateur video taken by people in Jenin shows a crowd of Palestinians surrounding a car suspected of carrying disguised Israeli soldiers.

In a video posted on social media, a crowd mowed a car and threw objects at it. Several gunshots rang out and the crowd began to spread out. Another clip appeared to show Israeli military vehicles towing the car away.

Mahmoud Al-Saadi of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Jenin told Agence France-Presse that “a secret Israeli unit stormed Abu Bakr Street in the city centre.”

The Israeli army said that soldiers and gunmen exchanged fire and that the soldiers were attacked with stones. No injuries were reported among the army personnel.

The raid comes days before a planned meeting between Palestinian and Israeli officials on Sunday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for talks aimed at easing tensions before Ramadan.

The Palestinian movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip besieged by Israel, described the latest raid as a “crime”, warning that it would not pass “without a response”.

Violence escalated last year, but it has worsened in the West Bank since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office in December in a ruling coalition with ultra-Orthodox Jews and their far-right allies.

The government of Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption on charges he denies, has vowed to continue expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Thursday’s death brings the number of Palestinian deaths since the beginning of the year to 83, with Israel intensifying its arrest raids in the West Bank. Fourteen Israelis were said to have been killed during the same period.

The current round of violence is the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank in years.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. At the same time, Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 30 people.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. The Palestinians seek those lands for their future independent state.

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