Israeli soldiers have killed five Palestinians in the illegally occupied West Bank – one of them a 14-year-old boy – amid continued raids by the Israeli armed forces following a series of deadly attacks inside Israel.
Two Palestinians were killed after an Israeli raid early on Thursday, while three others were killed on Wednesday, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
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The Israeli military confirmed the 14-year-old’s death on Wednesday evening, saying he had thrown a petrol bomb at the soldiers who “used live ammunition in order to stop the immediate threat”.
Near Ramallah, the Palestinian health ministry said another Palestinian was killed in clashes that erupted after Israeli forces carried out an arrest raid on Wednesday. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military or police.
Footage showed dozens of Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli armoured vehicles, and occasional gunfire could be heard.
The Shin Bet domestic security service said three Palestinians planning to carry out an imminent attack against Israelis were arrested during the raid. About 20 people described as “terror” suspects were detained in Wednesday’s operations, according to military and police statements.
Earlier on Wednesday, Muhammad Hassan Muhammad Assaf, a 34-year-old Palestinian lawyer, was also reportedly shot by the military. The health ministry said Assaf worked for a department of the Palestine Liberation Organization that documents and lobbies against Israeli settlement activity on Palestinian land. He was shot in the chest in Nablus, the ministry said.
Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Al Jazeera that the killings were a “dangerous escalation”.
“To me, these confrontations are leading to something that could become a wide-ranging Intifada,” he said in an interview from Ramallah.
36 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis since January, according to the Palestinian health ministry. That number includes Palestinians who carried out attacks in Israel.
The Palestinian foreign ministry said on Wednesday it held Israel “fully responsible for the repercussions” of the military’s actions, and a spokesperson for President Mahmoud Abbas appealed for the international community to intervene.
The latest bloodshed coincided with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when Israeli-Palestinian violence has erupted in the past, and last May spiralled into an 11-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The war led to the deaths of at least 232 Palestinians, as well as 12 Israelis, and significant destruction to the already impoverished territory.