RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians during a military raid in the occupied West Bank early Thursday, Palestinian media reported, as Israeli-Palestinian violence continued to surge.
The official news agency Wafa identified the dead as Jawad Bawatqa, 58, and Adham Jabarin. They were shot in the Jenin refugee camp in northern West Bank.
The Palestinian media said Bawatqa was a teacher, while the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade — an armed militia affiliated with Fatah, the secular political party that controls the Palestinian Authority — claimed Jabarin as a fighter.
The Israeli military said it had no immediate comment.
Palestinian media also reported that the Israeli forces arrested a local official of the militant group Islamic Jihad in Jenin.
Tensions have soared in the West Bank, where the Israeli military has been conducting near-nightly arrest raids since last spring, after a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people. Another 10 Israelis were killed in a second string of attacks later last year.
Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see them as further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year occupation of lands they seek for their future state.
Thursday’s deaths put at 17 the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank since the beginning of 2023.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 2022, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, making it the deadliest year since 2004.
Israel says most of the dead were militants. But Palestinian stone-throwers, youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations also have been killed.