Israeli troops kill 11 Palestinians in West Bank clash, medics say
By Ali Sawafta
NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) -Israeli troops killed 11 Palestinians, including at least four gunmen and four civilians, and wounded more than 100 people during a Wednesday raid on a city in the occupied West Bank, witnesses, militant groups and medical officials said.
The Israeli military confirmed the operation in Nablus, saying troops shot back after coming under fire while trying to detain militants suspected of planning imminent attacks. There were no Israeli casualties, the army said in a statement.
The Palestinian militant faction Islamic Jihad said Israeli troops had surrounded two of its Nablus commanders in a house, triggering a clash that drew in other gunmen. Explosions sounded and youths pelted armoured troop transports with rocks.
Palestinian sources said the two Islamic Jihad commanders were killed along with another gunman. The fatalities included four civilians, among them a 72-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said a 66-year-old man who suffered from gas inhalation during the raid died in hospital later on Wednesday. Medical officials said more than 100 Palestinians were wounded.
Nablus and nearby Jenin have been a focus of raids that Israel has intensified over the last year following a spate of lethal Palestinian street attacks in its cities.
Sixty-two Palestinians, including gunmen and civilians, have been killed in 2023, the Palestinian health ministry said. Ten Israelis and a Ukrainian tourist died in Palestinian attacks in the same period, according to Israel's foreign ministry.
"We condemn the occupation's raid into Nablus and we call for an end to the continued attacks against our people," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas, another Palestinian militant group that sometimes fights alongside Islamic Jihad, said there were four gunmen killed, one from its own ranks, and hinted at possible reprisals from the Gaza Strip, a territory that it controls.
Sirens rang out early on Thursday morning in southern Israeli towns as the military confirmed six rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israeli territory. Shortly afterwards, explosions were heard in Gaza and the military confirmed it was striking targets in Gaza but did not give more details.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are sworn to Israel's destruction but have in the past observed Egyptian-mediated truces with it.
U.S.-sponsored Palestinian statehood talks have been stalled for almost a decade.
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Alistair Bell, William Maclean)