Ramallah, occupied West Bank – A Palestinian teenager has been killed during armed clashes and confrontations with the Israeli army after it raided the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus.
The Palestinian health ministry identified him as 15-year-old Mahdi Hashash from the Balata refugee camp in Nablus.
It said the youth succumbed to serious wounds from shrapnel in different parts of his body during the army’s raid on Nablus at dawn on Wednesday.
Government sources told Al Jazeera that Hashash died when a hand-made explosive he was holding blew up in his hand during the confrontations.
At least three other Palestinians were injured during the raid, including one with serious injuries from live ammunition, and the rest from rubber-coated bullets, the official Wafa news agency reported. Dozens of others suffered tear gas inhalation.
Israeli forces raided Nablus on Wednesday night in order to secure a pre-announced visit by settlers, and right-wing Israeli members of parliament (Knesset), to the sensitive site of Joseph’s shrine or tomb, located a kilometre away from the centre of Nablus city, adjacent to the Balata refugee camp.
According to Israeli media reports, the Israeli army had approved a political event celebrating the victory of Benjamin Netanyahu’s bloc in the recent elections to take place at the shrine.
Local media footage showed Israeli forces firing dozens of tear gas canisters as they raided the main road in Nablus, as well as low-level armed clashes taking place with Palestinian fighters.
Joseph’s Tomb is a flashpoint site that is regularly frequented by illegal settlers under Israeli army protection. Over the past year, Palestinian fighters have increasingly carried out attacks during settler and army raids, in which several Israelis have been injured.
The Balata Brigades, which only announced itself publicly on Friday and is based in the camp, threatened repercussions if the raid took place. “If the settlers raid Joseph’s Tomb tonight, they will see what they have not accounted for,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday night.
Hashash is the latest Palestinian to be killed in the occupied West Bank this year, with the death toll the highest it has been for 16 years, according to the United Nations.
Tensions have been increasing on the ground in the 1967-occupied territories since earlier this year, owing to growing armed resistance, particularly in the cities of Nablus and Jenin, where Israel has been carrying out near-daily raids and arrests.
Israeli forces have killed at least 195 Palestinians, including 47 children, in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2022. Close to half of the total people killed were from Jenin.