JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military shot and killed a Palestinian man on Friday during an arrest raid into the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported, the latest bloodshed in the deadliest round of fighting in the area in seven years.
Gun battles erupted between Israeli security forces and Palestinian militants erupted in the camp in the northern West Bank, a frequent flash point for confrontations, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
The ministry initially reported that two had been killed, but later corrected the death toll to one Palestinian killed and another man in critical condition after being struck in the head by a bullet. Another five Palestinians were wounded in the violent clashes, it said.
The Israeli army said it had entered Jenin on Friday to arrest a wanted Hamas militant who had carried out recent attacks against Israeli security forces. The 24-year-old Diaa Muhammad Yusef Salama was armed with an M-16 rifle as Israeli security forces apprehended him and two other suspects, it added.
The raid set off a gunfight as militants in the neighborhood, armed with assault rifles, attempted to block the Israeli incursion. The army said it opened fire on the militants, and warned uninvolved civilians that their presence “poses a life-threatening danger.”
The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported that dozens of Israeli armored vehicles rolled through the camp as Palestinians protested violently outside the government hospital. It identified the dead as 20-year-old Matin Dababa and said a doctor and two paramedics had been wounded as an ambulance was caught in the crossfire.
Israel has been carrying out nightly arrest raids in the West Bank since the spring, when a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 19 people.
Israel says its operations are aimed at dismantling militant infrastructure and preventing future attacks, and that it has been forced to act due to the ineffectiveness of Palestinian security forces. The Palestinians see the nightly incursions into their cities, villages and towns as Israel’s way of deepening its occupation of lands they want for their hoped-for state and undermining the security forces.
The Israeli raids have killed over 120 Palestinians, making this year the deadliest since 2015. Most of those killed are said by Israel to have been militants but local youths protesting the incursions as well as some civilians have also been killed in the violence. Hundreds have been rounded up, with many placed in so-called administrative detention, which allows Israel to hold them without trial or charge.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.