Palestinians killed by Israeli army near Ramallah
Palestinians reject Israeli army claim that the men had attempted to carry out car-ramming attack.
Ramallah, Occupied West Bank – Israeli forces have shot dead two Palestinian men during a raid near the town of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank.
The two men were killed while in a car just outside the Jalazone refugee camp north of Ramallah on Monday.
The two men were identified as Khaled Anbar and Salameh Sharayah.
A third, Basel Basbous, was initially reported as having been killed in the attack. However, on Wednesday the Palestinian ministry of health’s spokesman confirmed that Basbous had survived, but was injured and currently recovering in an Israeli hospital.
News of the killings came in at about 7am (04:00 GMT) on Monday.
A witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said the shooting occurred outside his home.
“I heard the sound of gunfire at around 3:30am, I looked out of my window, there was a car, there were guys in it who were shot,” he told Al Jazeera.
“The soldiers pulled them out of the car and put them on the side of the road. They were left to bleed on the ground for around 40 minutes. After that, they took their bodies.”
“The most likely scenario is that the three were surprised by the army,” the man said, adding that Israeli soldiers had been hidden from view in several locations in the area around where the men’s car had been.
The Israeli army claimed its forces were attempting to arrest a suspect in Jalazone when they suspected that the three men were planning to carry out a car-ramming attack against the soldiers.
Family members of Basbous strongly deny that.
Basbous, who works at a bakery, is one of 10 siblings, including a brother currently in an Israeli prison.
His sister Baraa said her brother had gone out with his friends to see what was going on after they had heard that the Israeli army was raiding the area.
Speaking at their family home in Jalazone, Baraa said her brother had not attacked Israeli forces.
“My brother did not do anything,” she told Al Jazeera. “His friends called him and went out, they thought that it was not a big deal – they would just pass by and see if there were any confrontations.”
“Every young person in the camp that hears that the army is here goes out to see, even from afar,” Baraa continued.
Another sister, 37-year-old Rasha, said Basbous had spent the previous evening with her son.
“He dropped my son home at around 3am, and then he went to see what was going on after his friends called him,” Rasha told Al Jazeera.
“The army has been raiding the camp for the past three days, and when they come they shoot indiscriminately,” she continued.
“We don’t have safety even in our own homes,” she said, adding that her home was once shot at during a raid while she was looking out the window.
“I tell anyone who says anything about Palestinians, they [the Israelis] are the ones that come at us, and we are not safe even in our own homes… they come and kill our youth with one bullet”.
Basbous’ family had initially been under the impression that he had been killed by the Israeli army, after his name was released by the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.
However, according to the Palestinian ministry of health, that appears to have been the result of a case of mistaken identity.
The governorate of Ramallah and el-Bireh observed a general strike on Monday, with all stores shut, in mourning of the two men killed.
Israel has been carrying out near-daily raids in the West Bank, largely focused on the towns of Jenin and Nablus, where new armed Palestinian groups have formed.
Some 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the 1967-occupied territories since the start of the year, including 51 in the blockaded Gaza Strip during Israel’s three-day assault in August, according to the health ministry.
Local and international rights groups have condemned what they call Israel’s excessive use of force and “shoot-to-kill policy” against Palestinians, including suspected assailants, in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Senior Israeli politicians have encouraged “Israeli soldiers and police to kill Palestinians they suspect of attacking Israelis even when they are no longer a threat” according to Human Rights Watch.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has noted in reports that Israeli forces “often use firearms against Palestinians on mere suspicion or as a precautionary measure, in violation of international standards”.
In one of the most recent raids, on Thursday in a town near Bethlehem, a seven-year-old boy died after his family said he had been chased by Israeli soldiers.
The US Department of State has called for an investigation into the death of Rayyan Suleiman.
Twenty people have also been killed in attacks carried out by Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank in 2022.