Three Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli army in West Bank

Three Palestinians were killed on Monday in the occupied West Bank in two separate clashes with the Israeli army, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Two Palestinians in their 20s were killed in an Israeli army operation in Dura, in the southern West Bank, witnesses told an AFP journalist.

They described seeing young Palestinians throwing stones and hearing gunshots.

“All of a sudden, soldiers arrived in our town and started shooting at people without any warning,” Mohammed Rabaei, head of Dura hospital, said.

Nine people were wounded in the violence, including four in a critical condition, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The Israeli army said a crowd of around 100 “hurled Molotov cocktails and blocks at the forces.”

Soldiers opened fire and one of those who had thrown a petrol bomb was killed, the army said.

Another Palestinian was killed further north in Tulkarem province, according to the health ministry.

Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza on October 7, the West Bank has experienced a level of violence not seen since the Second Intifada, between 2000 and 2005.

Israeli army raids and attacks by settlers have killed at least 346 people in the West Bank since then, according to an AFP tally based on sources from both sides.

University students arrested

Separately, Israel arrested students at a university in the occupied West Bank in an early morning raid on Monday because of their alleged support for Hamas, sources on both sides said.

The students attended al-Najah National University in Nablus, which called for their immediate release and labelled the army raid a “blatant Israeli aggression.”

The university and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, a campaign group, said 25 students had been arrested in the raid.

The Israeli army said only that security forces had arrested “nine wanted persons associated with a Hamas student cell.”

A Palestinian security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the arrests came after the students held prayers for Hamas and praised the militant group on social media.

The source said it was clear “the occupation (Israel) is launching a campaign against everything related to supporting the resistance in Gaza.”

More than 520 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2023, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Over the same period, Palestinian militants carried out attacks in Israel and the West Bank that killed at least 41 people, according to the Shin Bet security agency.

Israel has occupied the West Bank, home to about three million Palestinians, since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the territory is now home to around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.

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