According to the Palestinian health ministry, Hamza Amjad al-Ashqar, 17, was killed when an Israeli bullet hit his face during a raid in Nablus.
The Palestinian health ministry reported that Israeli forces killed a teenager from Palestine during a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus. This came just one day after Israel killed five Palestinians in Jericho as part of its increasingly deadly raids in the occupied territory.
Hamza Amjad al-Ashqar, 17, was “killed by a bullet in the face fired by the occupation soldiers during the aggression on Nablus,” according to the ministry on Tuesday. Reuters reports that the Israeli army referred to al-Ashqar as a gunman who had fired on troops.
The 17-year-old is the latest casualty in one of the most violent times since 2002 in the occupied West Bank. Since the beginning of the year, 42 Palestinians, including civilians and fighters, have been killed by Israeli forces, raising concerns about a third Intifada, or mass Palestinian uprising. Seven people were killed by a Palestinian gunman in occupied East Jerusalem on January 27, one day after ten Palestinians were killed in an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Israel claims that the raids are a security measure directed at potential fighters. It has taken what rights groups call disproportionate measures, like razing the homes of Palestinians who have been attacked. However, Palestinians claim that the raids and other measures are collective punishment for their resistance to Israeli occupation for decades.
Following the fatal Jenin raid, the West Bank’s governing body, the Palestinian Authority, announced that it would no longer cooperate with Israel on security matters. The Palestinian Prisoners Club, an advocacy group, reported on Tuesday that Israeli forces detained at least 18 Palestinians near Jenin in the northern West Bank town of Burqin.
The United States and international organizations, including the United Nations, have urged both sides to remain calm as a result of the violence. The Lions’ Den, a loosely affiliated group of Nablus fighters, claimed that some of its members engaged in gunfire with Israeli forces that had “stormed a housing area.”
Although they did not claim the deceased teenager as a member, the group claimed that he belonged to the Askar refugee camp near Nablus. In the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the deadliest year since 2004 was marked by the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinians—both fighters and civilians. In 2022, approximately 30 Israelis were killed by Palestinian attacks.
During the war in the Middle East in 1967, Israel took East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. East Jerusalem was annexed by it later, a move that was not recognized internationally. Although Israeli forces left Gaza in 2005, they continue to impose a crippling land, air, and sea blockade on the two million-person region.
The Palestinians are concerned that the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem will render their hope for a sovereign state null and void. The far-right government of Israel has promised to construct additional settlements on Palestinian land. Under international law, settlements are prohibited.