Ramallah, West Bank - Israeli forces have shot and killed a Palestinian youth in Hebron following an alleged attack on an Israeli settler and soldier in the city's historic centre.

An Israeli military spokesperson told Al Jazeera that the youth, identified as Yusri Meswadeh, stabbed two Israelis on Wednesday before being killed by a nearby Israeli soldier.

The soldier who was attacked suffered "light injuries", the spokesperson said.

After the suspected attack, Israeli soldiers descended on the town and clashes ensued.

Palestinians in Hebron face provocation and attacks

Later on Wednesday, in a separate incident, Israeli officials said that they were searching for someone suspected of shooting at two Israelis in a city in the north of the West Bank.

A police spokesman said: "Two Israelis were wounded in a shooting south of Tulkarem... The man was injured seriously, and the woman was lightly injured. Both were taken to hospital."

Tensions have boiled over into unrest in recent months, as Palestinians continue to protest Israel's ongoing occupation and an uptick in Israeli incursions into occupied East Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site for Muslims. 

Since October 1, at least 118 Palestinians and 22 Israelis have been killed in the violence


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Hebron has become an epicentre for violence. It is the largest city in the West Bank, and separated into two sectors. 

The first is H1, where more than 120,000 Palestinians live. The second is H2, where a further 30,000 Palestinians live, with 500-700 Israeli settlers in the city centre accompanied by several hundred Israeli soldiers, who oversee 18 checkpoints.

Issa Amro, a resident of Hebron and nonviolent activist who founded Youth Against Settlements, told Al Jazeera that the Israeli military is "entrenching the checkpoints" in Hebron, making it impossible for thousands of Palestinians to go to work or see their families.

"Almost every night, they raid houses, media offices, companies, they're arresting people. The main checkpoint has been closed for Palestinians for two weeks," he said.

Four Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks have been killed in Hebron's old city this week alone. On Monday, Meswadeh's cousin Ehab was killed after purportedly stabbing an Israeli soldier.

Commenting on the deaths in Hebron, Amro said that "you have to keep in mind the youth only have knives. They aren't a threat to Israeli soldiers, who have guns. The response isn't proportionate". 

Aside from fatalities, the last three months have seen a sharp increase in arrest and detainment of Palestinians.


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'Security won't come from force'

According to Abdullah Arzeghari, the spokesman for the Palestinian Prisoner Society, at least 31 Palestinians, including minors, were arrested in the past 24 hours across the occupied West Bank.

"Since October 1, night raids and arrests are a nightly event for the people of Hebron, Tulkarem, Nablus, and Jenin," Arzeghari told Al Jazeera.

Palestinian youths face life-changing injuries

In his view, the Israeli military has done away with any reservations about detaining minors and women.

"There are approximately 420 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and more than 1,350 minors have been arrested. There are 41 women currently imprisoned, 12 of whom are minors."

Many of these people are held in administrative detention, imprisonment without indictment or trial, which can be extended by six months indefinitely by Israeli military courts.

The Israeli military was only able to confirm the arrest of 16 in overnight raids.

Back in Hebron, Amro concluded by saying that "it seems that the Israeli occupation doesn't understand that security will only come from peace, and not through force. The only way to achieve peace, is to end the occupation, end the daily restrictions and humiliations imposed on Palestinians".

Follow Creede Newton on Twitter: @creedenewton 

Source: Al Jazeera