(Update 2: Updates death toll, adds details)
Jerusalem, Feb 22 (EFE).- At least 10 Palestinians have been killed during an arrest raid conducted by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said Wednesday, in one of the deadliest days in the region in recent years.
Some 102 others were shot and injured, six of them critically, in the incursion that sparked clashes in the city of Nablus, a stronghold for Palestinian armed resistance since last year, the Palestinian health ministry confirmed.
Among the dead were a 16-year-old boy and two elderly men.
According to the Palestinian official news agency Wafa, two journalists who were covering the raid were also injured.
The Israeli police, the military, and the Israel Security Agency said in a joint statement that forces entered Nablus with the aim to arrest suspects for their alleged involvement in attacks against Israelis.
Soldiers surrounded a house where alleged suspects were hiding out and killed three wanted Palestinians, identified as Hussam Aslim, Mohamed Fatah and Walid Dahil, according to the statement.
The Israeli military also claimed that after an exchange of fire with suspects, other Palestinian gunmen opened fire and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at troops, who responded with live fire.
No casualties among Israeli forces were reported.
“The crime committed by the occupation forces in the city of Nablus today reaffirms the importance of our demand that the international community must act immediately to stop the Israeli crimes against our people, their land and their sanctities, and stop the unilateral Israeli measures,” Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.
Abu Rudeineh urged the United States “to take immediate action and put effective pressure on the Israeli government to stop its crimes and continuous aggression against our people.”
A spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Gaza ruling Hamas movement, warned that the Palestinian resistance in the strip was “losing patience.”
Mohammad Shtayyeh, the Palestinian prime minister, denounced the raid as “organized terrorism.”
Wednesday’s incident comes amid an escalation of violence in the region that has left 62 dead so far this year: 59 Palestinians – an average of more than one a day – and 11 people on the Israeli side.
It comes after a Palestinian killed seven people in an Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem on January 27, the deadliest attack on Israelis in more than a decade.
That attack also came in response to a bloody Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank, in which 10 Palestinians, including militiamen and civilians, were killed. EFE