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RAMALLAH: Israeli forces killed two Palestinians in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, increasing to nine the number of Palestinians killed in the territory over 24 hours, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Since the Gaza war began, Israel has stepped up military raids in the West Bank, where violence had already been surging for over a year. UN records show Israeli forces or settlers have killed hundreds of Palestinians in the West bank.

A 19-year-old Palestinian died after being shot by Israeli forces in El Bireh near Ramallah on Thursday morning, the Palestinian health ministry said. WAFA said he was wounded during confrontations with Israeli forces.

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South of Bethlehem, Israeli forces shot dead a 63-year-old Palestinian near settlement of El’azar, WAFA reported.

The Israeli military said soldiers had fired shots towards “a Palestinian who aroused their suspicion at the El’azar Junction”.

“A hit was identified and he was later pronounced dead,” it said, adding that military police had opened an investigation into the incident.

Citing Hebrew-language media, the Times of Israel reported that the 63 year-old man had his hands in the air when he was shot but there was no immediate confirmation from the military.

Thousands of Gazans likely detained by Israeli forces: UN

Israel captured both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war. Palestinians have long aimed to establish an independent state in the territories occupied in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israeli forces also killed four Palestinians in the Nur Shams refugee camp in the West Bank city of Tulkarm overnight, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, adding that two of them were shot and the other two killed in an Israeli strike.

Residents said Israeli forces bulldozed roads in the area.

Israeli forces also killed three Palestinians in the city of Jenin on Wednesday night, WAFA and the Palestine health ministry said, in what Israel’s military said was an operation targeting Palestinian fighters.

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Islamic Jihad (IJ) said three of its fighters had been killed, calling it an assassination operation.

Following the incident, local sources said Palestinian fighters shot dead a Palestinian man in Jenin accused of spying for Israel.

Fighters also clashed in Jenin with security forces from the Palestinian Authority (PA), the body led by President Mahmoud Abbas which exercises limited self-rule over patches of the West Bank, angered at the arrest of one of their members, local sources said.

Long-running tensions

Tensions have long simmered in the West Bank between fighters and the PA, established under interim peace agreements with Israel three decades ago.

EU close to sanctioning violent Israeli settlers: diplomats

Some 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israel’s devastating retaliatory offensive, according to health authorities in the territory.


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