Two Palestinians killed by Israeli troops after alleged attack

According to Israeli police, three Palestinians opened fire on the military base before being ‘neutralised’.

Israeli soldiers
Israeli soldiers take part in an urban warfare drill inside a mock village at Tze'elim army base in the Negev Desert in 2017 [File: Amir Cohen/Reuters]

Two Palestinians were killed and a third critically wounded after an alleged attack on an Israeli military base in the northern occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported on Friday.

The Palestinians approached Salem military base near the city of Jenin with homemade submachine guns known as the Carlo, reports said.

According to a statement from Israeli police, the three Palestinians fired the weapons at the base’s main gate.

“Border police and Israeli soldiers responded by firing and neutralising the terrorists,” it said.

No Israeli casualties were reported.

The violence comes at a time of heightened tensions over occupied East Jerusalem, where dozens of Palestinians are at risk of being evicted following a long legal battle with Israeli settlers. Palestinian protesters have clashed with police there on a nightly basis in recent weeks.

On Thursday, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a drive-by shooting earlier this week in the West Bank that killed an Israeli and wounded two others.

Late Wednesday, Israeli troops shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian during a confrontation near the West Bank city of Nablus. The military said several Palestinians had thrown firebombs toward soldiers.

‘Dangerous game’

The Palestinians view East Jerusalem — which includes holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims — as their capital, and its fate is one of the most sensitive issues in the Middle East conflict.

Neighbouring Jordan weighed in on Friday saying “Israel’s continuation of its illegal practices and provocative steps” in the city is a “dangerous game.”

“Building and expanding settlements, confiscating lands, demolishing homes and deporting Palestinians from their homes are illegal practices that perpetuate the occupation and undermine the chances of achieving a just and comprehensive peace, which is a regional and international necessity,” Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi tweeted.

The deaths came amid an uptick in violence coinciding with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

In recent days, protesters have scuffled with police and settlers over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian man protesting evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem [Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

Several Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah have been embroiled in a long legal battle with Israeli settler groups trying to dispossess them of their property in the neighbourhood north of the Old City.

Protesters have also clashed with police over restrictions on outdoor gatherings at the Damascus Gate on the edge of the Old City, a popular meeting place for Muslims following nightly prayers during Ramadan.

The United Nations has voiced concern over the violence and anti-riot police’s use of water cannons spraying foul-smelling liquid.

UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said developments “related to the eviction of Palestine refugee families in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem” were “very worrying”.

“I urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law,” the envoy said in a statement.

Volatile situation

Fears of more violence is growing.

Sunday night is Laylat al-Qadr, or the “Night of Destiny,” the most sacred in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Worshippers will gather for intense nighttime prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Sunday night is also the start of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in which Israel celebrates its annexation of East Jerusalem and religious nationalists hold parades and other celebrations in the city.

On Monday, an Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions.

Source: Al Jazeera