Palestinians: Israeli forces kill 19-year-old militant
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli forces shot and killed a 19-year-old Palestinian militant in the occupied West Bank in clashes that broke out early Monday during an Israeli arrest raid, Palestinian officials said.
The Israeli military said the young man threw a firebomb at troops from close range. The Islamic Jihad militant group said the man, Taher Zakarneh, was one of its members.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Zakarneh was shot in the head, the foot and thigh in a town near the West Bank city of Jenin, a bastion of armed struggle against Israeli rule, which has been a focus of monthslong Israeli arrest raids.
The Israeli military said it encountered violent protests during its operation in Qabatiya and responded with live fire to rocks and firebombs thrown at troops, including the one thrown by Zakarneh. The military said 17 Palestinians were arrested overnight in raids throughout the West Bank.
Israel has been conducting near-daily arrest raids in the West Bank for months, which were prompted by a spate of deadly attacks against Israelis earlier this year that killed 19 people. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed during that time, many of them militants or people involved in clashes, but some civilians have also been killed, including one who inadvertently drove through a battle zone and a veteran Al Jazeera journalist covering the raids.
Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks. The Palestinians say the operations are aimed at maintaining Israel’s 55-year military occupation of territories they want for an independent state.
While the initial bout of violence largely subsided, attacks against Israelis have ticked up recently. On Friday a Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier before being killed. On Sunday, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying a group of Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, wounding five soldiers, one of them seriously, as well as the civilian bus driver. Also Sunday, the military said an explosive device was hurled at soldiers at a post in the West Bank, lightly injuring four.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians want those areas for their hoped-for state.