Palestinian fighters kill Israeli soldier in occupied West Bank

An Israeli soldier has been shot dead near an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank in an attack claimed by a Palestinian group, the second such assault on armed forces within days.

The Israeli army said the soldier was killed on Tuesday when “two assailants arrived in a vehicle adjacent to the community of Shavei Shomron and shot live fire”.

The shooting in the Israeli settlement was claimed by the Lions’ Den, a loose coalition of Palestinian fighters that has emerged in recent months.

“We announce carrying out a second shooting operation targeting occupation [Israeli] soldiers in the Deir Sharaf area, west of Nablus,” the group said.

The area is located between Nablus and Jenin, Palestinian towns that have seen a half-year of intensified army incursions launched by Israel after a wave of street attacks in Israeli cities.

Israeli forces are looking for those who carried out the attack, the military added in its statement. According to AFP news agency, Israeli forces were deployed in the area and checking vehicles.

In a Twitter post, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz promised he would “get our hands on the terrorist and those who helped him”.

The soldier killed was named as 21-year-old Ido Baroukh.

 

The killing comes three days after an 18-year-old Israeli soldier was shot dead at a checkpoint by the Palestinian refugee camp of Shuafat, in occupied east Jerusalem.

Israeli forces are continuing a manhunt for the alleged gunman, identified by police as a 22-year-old Palestinian resident of the city.

Israeli forces shut the entrances to the refugee camp and the United Nations said schools there closed on Monday.

‘Collective punishment’

Palestinian Knesset member Ahmad Tibi visited the camp on Tuesday and described the “suffering” of residents.

“Sick people are not able to get outside to be treated, bakeries are empty, some physicians and doctors and nurses were not able to get in,” he told AFP news agency.

“In order to get out, you need to wait in your car, three or four hours. This is suffering, this is collective punishment,” Tibi added.

Meanwhile, four Palestinian teenagers have been shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank since Friday, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

A fifth Palestinian, a 12-year-old boy, died on Monday from wounds sustained last month during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.

The Israeli army and other security forces have launched near-daily West Bank raids in recent months, mainly in Jenin and Nablus, where Palestinian armed resistance is becoming more organised and new groups of fighters have been formed.

More than 80 Palestinians, including fighters and civilians, have been killed since January, in what the European Commission described as the deadliest year in the occupied West Bank since 2008.

Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead in May while covering an Israeli raid in Jenin.

At least 20 Palestinian minors have been killed in the West Bank this year, according to United Nations data.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. Palestinian leaders seek these territories for a future state.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international laws. Successive Israeli governments have built and expanded settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories – a move Palestinians say is aimed at demographic change.

There are at least 600,000 Israeli settlers living in some 250 settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, often under heavy Israeli military protection.

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