In Volatile West Bank, Israeli Military Kills 3 Palestinian Gunmen
In one of the most violent periods of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in recent years, the Israeli military claimed on Tuesday that it had shot and killed three alleged Palestinian gunmen in the northern occupied West Bank.
In the West Bank city of Nablus, which serves as the region’s commercial capital and has been a major target of the Israeli military’s recently increased raids, Israeli security forces claimed they opened fire on Palestinian militants who had fired at them from a car. Shortly after the shooting, Israeli forces examined a shattered black Skoda surrounded by spent bullet casings in the hilly neighborhood of al-Tur.
Following the militants’ failed attempt to attack Israeli forces close to a Jewish settlement with a view of Nablus, Israeli forces ambushed the gunmen, according to Palestinian media. Three M-16 rifles and other equipment were allegedly seized from their car, according to the Israeli military.
Fighting between Israelis and Palestinians has increased in the region that Israel seized from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East conflict. For a future state they envision, the Palestinians seek the occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
A volatile mix of frequent shooting attacks against Israelis by local Palestinian armed groups and frequently deadly Israeli military raids have been taking place in the West Bank in recent months. Twelve Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed earlier this month during Israel’s most ferocious incursion into the West Bank in nearly two decades.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right, ultranationalist coalition has pushed for a more aggressive response to Palestinian militant attacks, rejected talks with the Palestinian leadership, and sought to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank, all of which have heightened tensions.
Late on Monday, Palestinian insurgents claimed they shot at an Israeli settler bus near the Palestinian town of Hawara, south of Nablus, but no one was hurt. The Israeli military announced that checkpoints would be set up to look for the suspects. The “Dawn Brigade,” a little-known armed group from the region, took credit for the shooting.
The West Bank has seen the highest death toll in more than ten years with over 150 Palestinians having been killed so far this year. Nearly half of them were militant group members who were killed in battle during Israeli military raids, but there were also innocent bystanders and youths throwing stones in protest of the incursions who died
At least 25 Israelis have been killed this year as a result of Palestinian attacks.