Israeli troops have killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, the second to be killed in the city and its surroundings in the space of 24 hours.
Palestinian sources said a Palestinian fighter, named by the health ministry as Saed al-Koni, had been killed and that at least two others had been injured during confrontations at dawn on Sunday with Israeli forces in the Al-Taawon area of Nablus.
The Israeli army said soldiers had fired on “armed suspects in a vehicle and a motorcycle” during a routine patrol near Nablus in the northern West Bank, an area that has seen near-daily violence in recent months.
While the details were not yet clear, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim said from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank that Palestinian sources said three Palestinians had been planning to attack Israelis entering Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus. The funerary monument is in an area officially under the control of the Palestinian Authority, and which Israelis require authorisation to enter.
Near-daily Israeli raids in the occupied territory, resulting in dozens of Palestinian deaths, have been followed by a sharp rise in the number of attacks by Palestinians against Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.
“According to Israeli reports, there have been more than 60 shooting attacks this year alone, compared with 50 last year, and less than 10 the year before,” Ibrahim said.
A coalition of fighters called ‘”The Lion’s Den”, which has emerged recently in Nablus, claimed al-Koni was one of its members.
Ibrahim said two other members of the group, which has vowed to continue its attacks on Israelis, were also wounded in the attack.
A member of the group, Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, became one of the faces of Palestinian armed resistance after he was killed by Israeli forces in August. Pendants of al-Nabulsi are on sale in the markets of Nablus’ Old City.
Al-Koni’s death followed another in the Nablus area yesterday.
On Saturday, a Palestinian driver was killed by Israeli troops after what the army called an “attempted ramming attack”, but which Palestinians said was a traffic accident.
The Palestinian authorities accused Israeli police of intentionally killing the man, identified as 36-year-old Muhammad Ali Hussein Awad from the West Bank town of Beit Ijza, near Jerusalem.
“The Israeli police deliberately shot Awad, with the aim of killing him, after his vehicle collided with a police vehicle in a traffic accident,” the Palestinian foreign ministry said on Saturday, describing him as a “defenceless Palestinian” who was not “posing any danger”.
Israel has been on high alert in advance of the Jewish holiday season, beginning on Sunday evening with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.