JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teen in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian officials said, after the military said he hit a soldier in the face with a hammer.
The military said the soldier was lightly wounded. It provided a photo of the hammer and a knife, which it said was also in the Palestinian’s possession. The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the death, near the village of Baytin, and identified the teen as Haitham Mubarak, 17. It had no details about the circumstances behind his death.
Rights groups accuse Israeli forces of using excessive force in their dealings with the Palestinians, without being held accountable. The military says they contend with complex, life-threatening scenarios.
The violence was the latest in a string of incidents this week that has seen deadly confrontations between soldiers and Palestinians. Israel has been carrying out nightly arrest raids in West Bank cities, towns and villages since a spate of attacks against Israelis in the spring killed 19 people.
Israeli fire has killed dozens of Palestinians during that time, making it the deadliest year in the occupied territory since 2016.
The Israeli military says the vast majority of those killed were militants or stone-throwers who endangered the soldiers. But several civilians have also been killed during Israel’s monthslong operation, including a veteran journalist and a lawyer who apparently drove unwittingly into a battle zone. Some local youths who took to the streets in response to the invasion of their neighborhoods have also been killed.
Israel says the arrest raids are meant to dismantle militant networks that have embedded themselves. The Palestinians say the operations are aimed at maintaining Israel’s 55-year military occupation of territories they want for an independent state.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.