Two Palestinians killed during Israeli raid in the West Bank

Mourning for Samer El Shafei, one of two Palestinian men killed during a raid by Israeli forces in the Nur Shams refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, on May 6, 2023.  AP

Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians during a military raid in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The raid in the Nur Shams refugee camp near the city of Tulkarem was the latest in Israeli-Palestinian violence that has increased since last year.

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The ministry identified the men as Samer El Shafei and Hamza Kharyoush. It said both men were 22 years old and died of bullet wounds to their chest, neck and abdomen.

The Tulkarem Brigade, a local militant group linked to the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the armed wing of the ruling Fatah party, claimed the two men as members.

The Israeli military said the two were suspected of carrying out a shooting at a nearby Israeli settlement on May 2. An Israeli civilian was injured and vehicles were damaged during the shooting at the Avnei Hefetz Jewish settlement.

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“The two gunmen were shot and killed after attempting to flee the scene,” a statement from the Israeli military said.

“Two M-16 rifles, military vests and magazines” were confiscated during the raid, the army said.

Videos circulated on social media purported to show the bodies of the two men on a tin roof as Israeli soldiers searched them.

Palestinian media, quoting witnesses, said soldiers left after ensuring the two were dead.

The deaths raised to 104 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the start of the year.

Israel has been staging near-nightly arrest raids into West Bank villages, towns and cities for more than a year in an operation prompted by a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis last year.

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Israel said the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart attacks.

The Palestinians regard the attacks as further entrenchment of Israel’s 56-year, open-ended occupation of lands they seek for a future independent state.

About 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the raids were launched.

Israel said most have been militants, but stone-throwing youth and people not involved in the confrontations have also been killed.

During that same time, nearly 50 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis.

With reporting from agencies

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