JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli forces killed a 16-year-old Palestinian during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday, Palestinian health officials said.
This latest incident comes on the heels of what was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2004, an intense period of violence known as the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Amer Abu Zeitoun, 16, died after he was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of the secular Fatah party, described Abu Zeitoun not as an armed operative but as a member of its “monitoring group” that alerted militants to Israeli army surveillance and incursions.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said Abu Zeitoun was killed as clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers during an army arrest raid. It was not immediately clear if Abu Zeitoun was taking part in the confrontations.
The Israeli police said that a joint force of soldiers, border police and Shin Bet security agents arrested two wanted persons in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus.
The police said that armed Palestinians attacked the troops, who fired back, shooting “an armed person, who fired at the forces from close range.”
The Israeli military has been conducting near-daily raids into Palestinian cities and towns since a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 19 last spring.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank and east Jerusalem last year, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The death toll made 2022 the deadliest year since 2004, when 197 Palestinians were killed. At least 29 Israeli soldiers and civilians were also killed last year, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has reported.
The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.
Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see them as further entrenchment of Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of the West Bank.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.