JERUSALEM (AP) — A 16-year-old Palestinian was killed Thursday by Israeli fire during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
It was the latest bloodshed in the region that has seen Israeli-Palestinian tensions surge for almost a year. An Israeli rights group said earlier this week that 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2004, a period of intense violence that came during a Palestinian uprising.
Palestinian health officials said Amer Abu Zeitoun, 16, died after he was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Abu Zeitoun was shot during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers during an army arrest raid. It was not immediately clear if Abu Zeitoun was taking part in the confrontations.
The Israeli police said that a joint force of soldiers, border police and Shin Bet security agents arrested two wanted persons in the Balata refugee camp next to Nablus.
The police said that armed Palestinians attacked the troops, who shot back. It confirmed that troops shot “an armed person, who fired at the forces from close range.”
The Israeli military has been conducting near-daily raids into Palestinian cities and towns since a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 19 last spring.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank and east Jerusalem last year, according to B’Tselem’s figures, making 2022 the deadliest since 2004, when 197 Palestinians were killed. A fresh wave of attacks killed at least another nine Israelis in the fall.
The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.
Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see them as further entrenchment of Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of the West Bank.
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.