Israeli forces kill 3 Palestinian militants in West Bank

Israeli forces on Sunday shot dead three Palestinian militants who had opened fire on troops in the occupied West Bank, the military said, the latest bloodshed in a year-long spate of violence in the region.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed affiliate of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, claimed the men killed were members.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the men were killed by Israeli fire near the city of Nablus and identified them as Jihad Mohammed al-Shami, 24, Uday Othman al-Shami, 22, and Mohammed Raed Dabeek, 18.

The military said they seized three M16 rifles from the militants after the shooting and a gunman surrendered and was arrested.

Death Sunday brings the number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of the year to 80 as Israel ramped up crackdowns in the West Bank. A wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis killed 14 in 2023.

The renewed violence follows an Israeli military attack on the West Bank village of Jaba that killed three Palestinian militants. Hours later, at the start of the Israeli weekend, a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a busy Tel Aviv thoroughfare, injuring three people before being shot dead.

The current round of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank is one of the worst in years. It began last spring after a series of Palestinian attacks on Israelis that sparked near-night 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 leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Palestinian attacks on Israelis killed 30 people at the same time.

The military says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But stone-throwing youth protesting the raids and others not involved in the clashes were also killed.

Israel says the raids are essential to dismantling militant networks and preventing future attacks. But the attacks appear to be intensifying rather than slowing down.

The Palestinians see the raids as an intensification of Israel’s 55-year indefinite occupation of lands they seek for their future state.

Israel conquered the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. The Palestinians seek these areas for their future independent state. Israeli forces kill 3 Palestinian militants in West Bank

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