Israeli forces kill three Palestinians as West Bank violence soars

At least three Palestinians killed, health ministry says, and one Israeli killed in a shooting attack, Israel says.

Plumes of smoke rise above the town of Deir Sharaf after Jewish settlers from the nearby Einav settlement stormed the occupied West Bank town on November 2, 2023, following the death of an Israeli when his car came under fire [Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP]

Israeli forces have killed three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian authorities, and an Israeli military reservist was killed in a shooting attack, Israel said.

Violence has soared in the West Bank since Israel launched an assault on the besieged Gaza Strip on October 7, after Hamas fighters killed at least 1,400 people in an attack on southern Israel.

Ayham al-Shafei, 14, and Yazan Shiha, 24, were killed in Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, during an Israeli raid on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Israeli forces killed Qusai Quran, 19, during a raid on Qalqilya in the northern West Bank, according to the ministry.

Separately on Thursday, the ministry said that 14-year-old Hamdan Omar Hamdan had died of head wounds sustained earlier this week by Israeli army gunfire. According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, the boy had been in a car with his father at the time of the shooting.

The deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank since the war began to 133, according to the health ministry.

More than 9,000 people have been killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, including 3,760 children, according to Palestinian authorities.

Settlers storm village of Deir Sharaf

Earlier on Thursday, an Israeli reservist was killed in a shooting attack near the settlement of Einav, in the northern West Bank, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

The man was identified as Elhanan Klein and said he was wearing a military uniform at the time of the attack.

Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said “terrorists fired at a vehicle that overturned as a result of the shooting”, adding that the army started to chase the fighters “and are blocking roads in the area”.

In the wake of the attack, dozens of Israeli settlers descended on the nearby Palestinian town of Deir Sharaf. The settlers set cars on fire and attacked shops, according to local media reports.

Footage from the scene shows plumes of black smoke rising into the sky.

“This morning, dozens of settlers gathered in Deir Sharaf, east of the city of Nablus, and they threw rocks on [Palestinian] citizens’ homes under the protection of the occupation army,” Asef Nofal, a Palestinian journalist who was at the scene, told Al Jazeera.

“They also set alight three vehicles that belong to citizens from the village of Deir Sharaf, and they burned down shops on the main road in that village.”

Settler violence has soared in the West Bank since the war began. According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, at least 13 communities have been displaced in the West Bank.

Israeli forces have also stepped up raids in Palestinian communities and carried out mass arrests. The military said it arrested 49 people on Thursday, including 21 Hamas fighters.

More than 1,800 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank since October 7, with more than half in administrative detention.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies