Taking responsibility for the shooting, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) has issued a statement.
The military reported that two Israeli soldiers were hurt on Saturday in a drive-by shooting in the volatile West Bank town of Huwara that was claimed by a Palestinian armed group. The shooting, according to a statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), was carried out by them. The military declared that it was looking for the suspect.
The third shooting to be reported in the Huwara area in a month has sparked concerns about an uptick in violence during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which partly coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover and has historically been a flashpoint for violence.
The first Friday Ramadan prayers at Jerusalem’s volatile Al-Aqsa Mosque compound concluded peacefully despite Israel’s restrictions on movement, allaying some fears. But Israeli police claimed on Saturday night that they had entered the mosque complex to eject some worshipers who they claimed intended to “violate public order” and interfere with Israelis and tourists’ visits and early-morning prayers.
From Palestinian or Muslim officials who have previously denounced Israeli forces entering the shrine, there was no immediate response. A 25-year-old Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces on Thursday in the occupied West Bank during a raid southeast of Tulkarm.
More than 200 Palestinians, including fighters and civilians, have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank over the course of the past year, while more than 40 Israelis and three Ukrainians have also perished in Palestinian attacks.
One Palestinian Dead
According to the Palestinian health ministry, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man, 25, on Thursday morning during a raid in the occupied West Bank.
According to the Israeli border police, its undercover units were searching for a man who was thought to have been involved in several shooting attacks. After he allegedly aimed a weapon at them, the forces surrounded Abu Khadijeh’s house in the town of Izbat Shufa, southeast of Tulkarm, and fired at him.
The “Tulkarm Brigade,” a new group formed to protest Israel’s occupation, claimed that Abu Khadijeh was one of its founders and referred to the death as an “assassination.”
The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins on Thursday.
During Ramadan, Israeli forces have increased security in occupied East Jerusalem, particularly in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which frequently results in confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Israeli raids and violence against Palestinians in the West Bank have increased since the beginning of the year compared to the same time period in previous years.
With the death of Abu Khadijeh, at least 87 Palestinians, including 16 children, have been murdered by Israelis this year. The Palestinian health ministry claims that it has been the bloodiest year thus far since 2000.
This year, Palestinians have killed at least 13 Israelis. As the holy months of Ramadan, Easter, and Passover coincide in April, there are growing concerns that more violence could break out.
Following a string of attacks by Israeli forces on the occupied West Bank, officials from both Israel and Palestine met over the weekend to try to ease tensions. Egyptian, American, and Jordanian officials provided support for the one-day gathering in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.
This is the second meeting between the two sides in as many weeks where they have attempted to come to an agreement that will prevent tensions from rising in the West Bank.