Two Palestinian militants killed during Israeli raid in West Bank
Jerusalem, May 6 (EFE).- Two Palestinian militants were killed and another injured Saturday during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank, officials said, amid an escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has killed more than 120 people so far this year.
“Two dead, shot by the Israeli occupation, arrived at Dr. Thabet Thabet al Hukoumi Hospital, in addition to one injured in the extremities,” the Palestinian National Authority health ministry said, following the raid by Israeli forces into Tulkarem, a village in the northern part of the West Bank.
The dead were identified as 22 year-olds Samer Salah al Shafei and Hamza Jamil Jareoush, the ministry added.
“The two Palestinians were executed in cold blood by the occupation forces,” reported the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, specifying that residents of Tulkarem had declared a general strike as a form of protest.
An Israeli army spokesman confirmed the operation and acknowledged that the soldiers “shot and killed the two gunmen” when they “tried to flee”.
According to Israeli intelligence sources, the two Palestinians carried out a shooting attack on Israelis in Avnei Hefetz, a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank, on May 2.
On that day, a Palestinian fled after opening fire on Israeli vehicles in Avni Hefetz, causing minor injuries to an Israeli who was hit by shards of glass.
The Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohamed Shtayeh, considered that “martyrs Shafei and Jareoush are two new victims of the organized terrorism practiced by the occupation soldiers, who carry out extrajudicial executions, without observing international laws or humanitarian law”.
During the military operation in Tulkarem on Saturday, two other Palestinians, aged 19 and 21 respectively, were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack on Avnei Hefetz, the army spokesman said, adding that one of them was wounded.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the nationalist Fatah movement that partially rules the West Bank through the PNA, said the two dead Palestinians were part of its ranks, calling them “heroes,” and that Jareoush was “the perpetrator of the revenge operation in Avni Hefetz.”
“Our response to their assassination will be as great as our grief,” the militia warned.
Abdul Latif al-Qanou, a spokesman for Hamas – the Islamist movement that de facto rules the Gaza Strip – said the death of the two “heroes of the resistance will only increase the determination of the Palestinian people to advance on the path of resistance.”
Palestinian militias in Gaza often fire rockets into Israel in retaliation for the deaths of their fighters, to which Israel usually responds with shelling on the coastal enclave.
The latest escalation occurred on May 2-3, following the death of an Islamic Jihad member held in an Israeli prison, who died after a prolonged hunger strike. One Palestinian was killed and five others were injured in the escalation, while three were wounded on the Israeli side.
This is the deadliest year in the region since the Second Intifada (2000-2005).
Constant Israeli incursions into the West Bank, assaults by Jewish settlers, attacks by Palestinians against Israelis and the escalation between Israel and militias in the Gaza Strip have caused the deaths of 109 Palestinians so far this year, mostly militiamen in violent clashes with Israeli troops, but also civilians, including 20 minors.
On the Israeli side, 19 people have been killed, mostly settlers, including three minors. EFE