Two Palestinian men were killed by Israeli forces during a raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank early on Sunday, sparking condemnation from Palestinian officials and residents.
The Israeli army said it carried out a “counter-terrorism activity” in the Nour Shams refugee camp near Tulkarm, where it claimed to have dismantled an “operational command centre” and dozens of explosive devices belonging to Palestinian militants.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the two men killed were identified as Abd al-Rahman Suleiman Abu Daghash, 32, and Aseed Farhan Abu Ali, 21. They were both shot in the head by Israeli snipers, one of them inside his home, according to witnesses.
Six other Palestinians were injured by shrapnel and gunfire during the operation, which involved more than 60 Israeli military vehicles and a bulldozer that tore up the main street and damaged the water and electricity infrastructure of the camp.
Palestinian fighters responded by opening fire and hurling explosive devices at the invading forces, who also faced resistance from local residents who threw stones and Molotov cocktails.
The Israeli army said one of its soldiers was moderately injured by gunfire fragments during the clashes, which lasted for several hours.
The Nour Shams refugee camp, which was established in 1952 to house refugees who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation, is home to more than 13,000 people who live in overcrowded and poor conditions.
The camp has been raided by Israeli forces several times this year, resulting in deaths and injuries among Palestinians. Earlier this month, another Palestinian man was killed and two others were wounded during an Israeli incursion into the camp.
Israel’s Unnecessary Escalation
Palestinian Authority presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh denounced the “dangerous” Israeli escalation against Palestinians, saying it threatened to ignite the region into conflict.
He said the Israeli occupation was “waging a continuous war against Palestinians” and called on the international community to intervene and protect the Palestinian people and their rights.
This year has been one of the deadliest for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, where at least 187 have been killed by Israeli forces since January, including 38 children. Most of them were shot dead during protests or alleged attacks on Israelis.
Another 37 Palestinians have been killed in the besieged Gaza Strip, where Israel launched an 11-day offensive in May that also killed 12 people in Israel. The ceasefire that ended the hostilities remains fragile amid ongoing tensions over Jerusalem and other issues.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 and maintains a military presence throughout the territory, where more than 600,000 Jewish settlers live in illegal settlements that are considered a major obstacle to peace.
Palestinians want to establish an independent state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, but Israel rejects any withdrawal from these areas and continues to expand its settlements and demolish Palestinian homes.