Israeli raid in West Bank kills three Palestinians

Israeli forces killed three members of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad during a raid Saturday in the occupied West Bank, police said, the latest in a surge of violence.

The three men opened fire when troops tried to arrest them near the northern city of Jenin, and they were killed in the ensuing shootout, the police said, adding that four soldiers were wounded, including one seriously.

The Israeli forces intercepted “a terrorist cell on its way to an attack and stopped the car in which they were travelling between Jenin and Tulkarem”, the police said in a statement.

The Islamic Jihad confirmed the three deaths.

“We mourn the death of our three hero fighters,” the armed wing of Islamist movement said, adding that two of them were from Jenin and one from Tulkarem.

The bloodshed comes amid heightened tensions ahead of the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan that has seen a spike in violence in Israel and the West Bank.

On Friday, Israeli forces shot dead a 29-year-old Palestinian during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The Palestinian Wafa news agency identified him as Ahmad al-Atrash, who it said was taking part in a protest against Israeli settlements and had previously served six years in an Israeli prison.

The Israeli army said that during a “riot” in Hebron, “a suspect hurled a Molotov cocktail” at soldiers, who “responded with live fire”.

Hebron, the biggest city in the West Bank, is home to about 1,000 Jewish residents living under heavy Israeli military protection, among more than 200,000 Palestinians.

The West Bank, which has been occupied by Israeli forces since the 1967 Six-Day war, is home to nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers, living in communities regarded as illegal under international law.

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