Palestinian killed during Israeli West Bank 'counter-terrorism' raid

·2-min read
Israeli soldiers are positioned near the northern Israeli town of Metula along the border with Lebanon on April 25, 2022, following overnight rocket fire from Lebanon into northern Israel (AFP/JALAA MAREY) (JALAA MAREY)

One Palestinian was killed Tuesday when Israeli forces stormed a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, in what the army called a "counter-terrorism" operation that sparked violent riots.

The incident is the latest in wave of unrest rocking the West Bank and Israel as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish holiday of Passover overlapped this month.

The Palestinian health ministry said 20-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim Oweidat "succumbed to critical wounds sustained by live bullets to the head, at dawn today in Aqabat Jaber camp" which is near Jericho.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said three men were injured when the "undercover" forces raided the camp overnight.

Israel's army in a statement to AFP said that soldiers conducted an overnight operation in Aqabat "to apprehend wanted suspects."

"During the operational activity, dozens of Palestinians violently rioted and attacked the soldiers. The rioters burned tires, and hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers.

"The soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and live ammunition," the statement said, adding that no Israeli troops were hurt.

The surging violence has included attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs inside Israel that have killed 14 people since late March.

Oweidat is the 25th Palestinian, including assailants, to have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank over the same period.

Violent clashes have also occurred in the compound of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, sparking fear of another armed conflict after an 11-day war last year between Israel and armed forces in Gaza, triggered by similar unrest.

Following the Al-Aqsa clashes, isolated rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel resumed, prompting Israeli reprisals on targets linked to the Hamas Islamist who rule the enclave.

No injuries have been reported on either side.

- Gaza workers -

Israel on Saturday had closed the Erez crossing with Gaza in retaliation for the rocket fire, blocking the 12,000 Palestinians with permits to enter Israel from going to work.

But Erez re-opened on Monday "following a security assessment," the defence ministry said, warning that a sustained opening was conditioned on "the continued preservation of a stable security situation."

No rockets have been fired from Gaza since Saturday morning.

Concerns of fresh Al-Aqsa clashes are building, though, ahead of Friday prayers at the compound, with the end of Ramadan also approaching at the beginning of May.

Palestinian Muslims have been angered by an uptick in Jewish visits to the Al-Aqsa compound, Islam's third-holiest site. It is also Judaism's holiest place and known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

In an apparent attempt to ease tensions, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told reporters Sunday that Israel was committed to the "status quo" at Al-Aqsa, meaning an adherence to long-standing convention allowing Jews to visit the compound but not pray there.

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