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RAMALLAH: Israeli forces killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy on Tuesday during a raid in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said. The teenager, Hamzeh al-Ashkar, was shot in the face by Israeli soldiers who raided the northern city of Nablus at around dawn, the ministry said.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

The Den of Lions, a group of Nablus fighters with loose factional affiliations, said some of its members exchanged fire with Israeli forces who had “stormed a housing area”.

The group said the teenager who was killed was from the Askar refugee camp near Nablus but did not say he was a group member. Also early on Tuesday, Israeli forces arrested at least 18 Palestinians in the northern occupied West Bank town of Burqin near Jenin, the Palestinian Prisoners Club advocacy group said.

Israeli raid in West Bank kills 9 in deadliest clash

The operations come during a time of heightened tensions that have drawn fears of a further escalation in violence. On Jan. 27, a Palestinian gunman killed seven Israelis near a synagogue in East Jerusalem, a day after an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin in which 10 Palestinians including eight gunmen were killed.

The Palestinian health ministry said at least 42 Palestinians, civilians and militants, have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since Jan. 1.

Israel says the raids are a security measure targeting suspected militants.

Palestinians consider the raids a form of collective punishment and say they are fighting against decades of Israeli occupation.

Israel military hits Gaza after rocket fire despite US appeal for calm

The violence has prompted calls for calm on both sides from the United States and international organisations including the United Nations.

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