Israeli forces kill Palestinian man in West Bank

Reuters  /  September 1, 2023

AQABAH, West Bank – Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on Friday after clashes broke during a raid on a house of a suspected gunman, Palestinian officials said.

The Palestinian health ministry said a 36 year-old man died after being shot in the head by Israeli forces in the town of Aqabah in the Jordan Valley, while another man was wounded by gunfire.

The Israeli military said there was an exchange of fire with gunmen during the operation and its forces hit one of those who was firing. However, local witnesses said the dead man had not been involved in the clashes but was in a nearby field when he was hit by a bullet.

The military said soldiers and border police surrounded a house in Aqabah, using shoulder-fired rockets and grenades against the building and later finding two improvised explosive devices inside. It said they arrested two wanted suspects.

Witnesses said the house was extensively damaged with a large hole blown into an external wall, parts of an interior wall blown away and debris strewn across a sitting room.

The West Bank has seen a wave of violence over the past 18 months, with a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians on Israelis, brazen attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinian towns and villages and stepped up raids by the Israeli military.

On Thursday, a Palestinian truck driver killed an Israeli soldier in a ramming attack near a checkpoint on the boundary with the West Bank.

Thousands of Palestinians have been arrested and hundreds have been killed since last year, mainly gunmen or fighters involved in clashes with Israeli troops but also including several uninvolved civilians.

In the same period, dozens of Israelis and a number of foreigners have been killed in Israel and the West Bank, which Palestinians want as the core of a future state but which has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Middle East war.

Reporting by Ali Sawafta; writing by James Mackenzie; editing by Kim Coghill