The Israeli army has killed two Palestinian men during a raid on a village near the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank.
Mohammad Samer Hoshiyeh(22) and Fouad Mohammad Abed(25) were shot dead early on Monday in Kufr Dan, northwest of Jenin, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
At least three others were injured during the raid, including one in critical condition, the ministry added.
Confrontations and armed clashes broke out with Israeli forces late on Sunday night after they raided Kufr Dan to demolish the homes of two Palestinians killed in a shootout at an Israeli military checkpoint in Jenin that led to the killing of an Israeli soldier, Bar Falah, several months ago.
Ahmad Ayman Abed and Abdulrahman Hani Abed were shot dead at the Jalameh checkpoint, the main entry point between the northern occupied West Bank and Israel, on September 14.
Israeli forces said in a statement on that they had been conducting operations in Kufr Dan to demolish the homes of the two men, and said that they had been attacked with gunfire, rocks and firebombs.
Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules Gaza, claimed Fouad Mohammed Abed as its member. Videos shared by local media showed one of the homes being blown up using explosives. Similar images showed the demolition of a second home in the same way.
Such home demolitions are regarded as “collective punishment” by Palestinians and human rights organisations.
The large-scale Israeli military raid, which included special forces, began on Sunday night and continued until Monday morning.
The two men shot dead on Monday are the first Palestinians to be killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank this year, as a result of an ongoing Israeli military campaign of intensified raids and killings for almost a year.
The United Nations (UN) marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.
Israeli forces killed at least 171 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2022, including more than 30 children. At least 9,000 others have been injured. Civilians confronting the Israeli army during raids and uninvolved bystanders have been killed, as well as Palestinian fighters in targeted assassinations and during armed clashes.
Following a string of individual attacks carried out by Palestinians in Israel that began in March, the Israeli army launched a campaign called “Break the Wave” that has included near-daily raids, mass arrests and killings in the West Bank, with a focus on Jenin and Nablus, where Palestinian armed resistance has grown more organised over the past year.
Israeli forces conducted raids in several other cities in the occupied West Bank on Monday morning including Nablus, Salfit and Ramallah, arresting at least 15 Palestinian men, according to prisoner groups.
In Ramallah, the army raided the al-Amari refugee camp and arrested the brother of Nasser Abu Hmaid, a Palestinian prisoner who died in Israeli custody last month after suffering from cancer for over a year.
On Sunday night, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who recently became national security minister in the far-right Israeli government inaugurated late last week, said he intends to enter the al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem in the coming days.
The move by Ben-Gvir, a controversial figure who openly incites violence against Palestinians, could spark protests and a crackdown by Israeli forces at the sensitive Muslim holy site, amid conditions that the UN warned have reached “a boiling point”.
The new Israeli government, which includes religious Zionist and ultra-Orthodox parties, and is led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is said to be the most right-wing in Israel’s 74-year history.
His Likud party released the new coalition government’s policy priorities on Wednesday, the first of which promises to “advance and develop settlement in all parts of the land of Israel – in the Galilee, Negev, Golan Heights, and Judea and Samaria” – the latter of which are the Biblical names for the occupied Palestinian West Bank.