Middle East

Israeli forces kill Palestinian during raids

Ahmed Sabarin, 21, shot in al-Jalazon refugee camp during house searches in the West Bank for three missing teens.

Last updated: 17 Jun 2014 10:50
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Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian man and arrested the speaker of parliament, as the hunt for three Israelis believed to have been kidnapped in the occupied West Bank continues.

Twenty-one-year-old Ahmed Sabarin was shot in the chest, according to hospital officials at the Palestine Medical Centre, as the Israeli army conducted house-to-house searches in al-Jalazon refugee camp, on the edge of Ramallah.

Sabarin died of his wounds in the hospital. Another man was wounded in the assault, and at least five others from the camp were arrested. The Israeli army said Sabarin was shot after throwing a brick at Israeli soldiers.

Israel has accused Hamas of being behind the kidnapping of three Israeli teens who were hitch-hiking in the West Bank on Thursday night.

Its forces have so far rounded up more than 150 Palestinians, including parliament speaker Abdel Aziz Dweik, who was taken on Monday morning.

Earlier, Hamas founder Hassan Yousef and 20 parliament members and former ministers were detained.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday morning, their first conversation in more than a year, and demanded the PA's help in finding the teenagers. "The Hamas kidnappers came from territory under Palestinian Authority control and returned to territory under Palestinian Authority control," he said.

Abbas condemned the alleged kidnappings and the wave of arrests and violence that followed, calling on "both sides to refrain from violence", according to a statement released by WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the trio's disappearance. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, on Sunday called Netanyahu's comments blaming Hamas "stupid", saying they were a trial balloon to gather intelligence.

RELATED: Israeli arrests over missing teens condemned

The executive committee of the PLO, which is responsible for negotiations with Israel, said the Israeli mass arrests and closures were "racist" in nature, and intended to cover up what it termed Netanyahu's "incompetence".

"This is Netanyahu's modus operandi: diverting attention from the real cause of the cycle of violence," the committee said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has, meanwhile, called for the immediate release of the three teens.

"International humanitarian law prohibits abduction as well as the taking of hostages," Robert Mardini, who heads ICRC operations in the Middle East, said in a statement.

"They must be treated humanely, and their lives and dignity protected and respected."

On Sunday night, two Palestinian children were wounded when Israeli forces detonated their front door in Hebron, which has been cordoned off with checkpoints and roadblocks. Their father Akram al-Qawasami, who was also injured, was detained.

Also on Sunday, Israeli soldiers said shots were fired at a military post near the settlement of Har Gilo in the Bethlehem area.

At least two rockets were fired from Gaza towards the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Sunday night. An Israeli officer said the army does not believe Hamas was involved.

Four Palestinians, including two children, were wounded early on Monday in a series of Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. The bombings targeted training sites for Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and a base for national security forces.

Ahmed Bahar, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, urged the government to stop the security cooperation with Israel.

Hussam Badran, a Hamas official, said: "The assaults on Gaza and arrests in the West Bank will not stop the Palestinian people from resisting the Israeli occupation by whatever means necessary."

Fares Akram contributed reporting from Gaza, and Gregg Carlstrom from Tel Aviv.


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