JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli army raid killed four Palestinians, including a teenage boy, near the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday, Palestinian officials said.
It was the latest bloodshed in a year-long wave of violence in the region.
The Israeli military confirmed its forces were operating in the city of Jenin on Thursday and later said that troops killed two wanted members of the Islamic Jihad militant group and a third person, who was killed “after attempting to attack the forces with a crowbar.”
The area is known as a stronghold of Palestinian militants, and Israel frequently conducts military raids in the area.
The Palestinian health ministry identified three of the dead as Youssef Shreem, 29, Nidal Khazim, 28, and Omar Awadin, 16. The identity of the fourth was not immediately known.
Amateur video taken by people in Jenin appeared to show a crowd of Palestinians surrounding a car that people suspected carried undercover Israeli troops. In a video posted on social media, a crowd of people surround a car and hurl objects at it. Several gunshots ring out and the crowd starts to scatter. Another clip appeared to show Israeli military vehicles towing the car away.
The army said that soldiers and armed gunmen traded fire, and that soldiers came under attack from stones. It reported no injuries to army personnel.
Thursday’s deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed since the start of the year to 83 as Israel has stepped up arrest raids in the West Bank in response to a series of attacks last spring. Palestinian attacks against Israelis have killed 14 people in 2023.
According to an Associated Press tally, about half of the Palestinians killed this year were affiliated with militant groups. Israel says most of the dead were militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions, some in their early teens, and others not involved in confrontations, including three men over 60, have also been killed.
The current round of violence is one of the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank in years. It began a year ago after a series of Palestinian attacks against Israelis that triggered near-nightly Israeli raids in the West Bank.
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 leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Palestinian attacks against Israelis during that same time killed 30 people.
Israel captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for their future independent state.