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Palestinian shot dead in Israeli operation in West Bank

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JERICHO: A Palestinian was killed on 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 deadly shooting was the latest in a wave of bloodshed in the West Bank and Israel as Ramazan and the Jewish 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” near Jericho.

Two other men were wounded by live fire when the “undercover” forces raided the camp overnight, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

Israel’s army said in a statement that soldiers had conducted an overnight operation in Aqabat “to apprehend wanted suspects”.

“During the operational activity, dozens of Palestinians violently rioted and attacked the soldiers,” it said, adding that no Israeli troops were hurt.

“The rioters burned tyres and hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers. The soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and live ammunition.”

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians are common in the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967, but recent weeks have seen a surge in unrest.

Attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs in Israel have killed 14 people since late March, while Oweidat is among 25 Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, among them assailants, killed by Israeli forces over the same period.

His body, wrapped in the Palestinian flag and that of the president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement, was driven from a Ramallah hospital to Jericho for his burial, where hundreds of mourners enduring 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) heat surrounded the Oweidat family home. As the body left the family home, Oweidat’s mother wailed as she gave her son a final embrace.

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

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2022


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