At least six Palestinians have been killed and 21 wounded after Israeli forces raided several areas in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said.
Early Tuesday morning, large numbers of Israeli forces stormed the city of Nablus and were spotted by Palestinian security forces and armed fighters, according to a spokesperson for the Palestinian Fatah movement.
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According to the Palestinian health ministry, five Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire. One of those killed was unarmed, Palestinian health and security officials said.
Their names are: Ali Khaled Antar, 26; Mishal Baghdadi, 27; Wadee al-Hawah, 31; Hamdi Qayyem, 30; and Hamdi Mohamed Sharaf, 35.
The ministry later reported that another Palestinian youth, Qusay al-Tamimi, was killed during confrontations with Israeli forces in the village of Nabi Saleh near the city of Ramallah, home to the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.
A spokesperson for the ministry told Al Jazeera that Tamimi was 19 years old.
The Israeli military said only that their forces were operating in Nablus but gave no further details.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is establishing “urgent contacts in order to stop this aggression against our people” in Nablus, his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement.
“All of this will have dangerous and destructive consequences,” Abu Rudeineh said on Palestine TV.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that the Israeli army prevented its medical crews from entering the al-Qaryoun neighbourhood to evacuate the injured.
Palestinian sources said Israeli snipers were positioned on the rooftops of houses and buildings overlooking Nablus’ city centre and used drones to fire missiles.
In a later development, Israeli forces bombed a civilian vehicle in the Ras al-Ain area, which resulted in the death of a Palestinian whose charred body arrived at Rafidia Hospital.
Armed confrontations were continuing in and around the Old City of Nablus in the north of the occupied West Bank, said Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim, reporting from Ramallah.
“We are hearing local sources calling this a ‘scene from hell’. We’re hearing that large numbers of Israeli forces have been pushed inside the city,” Ibrahim said. Nablus has been besieged by Israeli forces for more than two weeks already, she added.
“We’ve seen Israeli forces closing down the city because they say that they’re interested in tracking down a group calling itself the Lions’ Den”, Ibrahim said, adding that the group recently claimed responsibility for a shooting that killed an Israeli soldier.
Ibrahim Younes, media coordinator for the Palestinian Youth Movement, told Al Jazeera that the Lions’ Den group had emerged out of youth in the city who had taken up arms to defend the city from incursions by Israeli forces, and the group then became more formalised and adopted a name.
“To understand the perspective of Palestinian youth in the West Bank you have to look at a situation where there’s 800,000 settlers who are illegally occupying a great percentage of the land there,” Younes said.
“You have constant, daily attacks on Palestinian youth, whether they’re crossing checkpoints, whether they’re walking to school or to work,” he said.
“Obviously there’s going to be a lot of popularity among youth in the West Bank when a group says that they are not going to accept the presence of these settlers on their land,” he added.
فلسطين تودع ٦ شهداء خلال اشتباكات ومواجهات فجر اليوم.
١- حمدي صبيح رمزي قيم 30 سنة
٢- علي خالد عمر عنتر 26 سنة
٣- حمدي محمد حامد شرف 35 سنة
٤- وديع صبيح حوح 31 سنة
٥- مشعل زاهي بغدادي 27 سنة
٦- قصي محمود التميمي/ رام الله pic.twitter.com/ELRHyvqkaN
— شجاعية (@shejae3a) October 25, 2022
On Sunday, the Lions’ Den armed group said that one of its fighters, Tamer al-Kilani, was killed by explosives planted on a motorcycle in the Old City of Nablus.
The group described al-Kilani as one of its “fiercest fighters” and blamed Israel for the blast that killed him as he walked past.
The Israeli military declined to comment on the claim that it was behind the killing.
Israeli forces have been conducting nightly raids in the occupied West Bank since March in what it says is a bid to dismantle armed networks and thwart attacks.
Abu Akleh was wearing a press vest and was standing with other journalists when she was shot dead in a case that has been described by many parties as a targeted killing by Israeli forces.