Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian man in latest bloodshed

At least 84 Palestinians have been killed so far in 2023, putting this year on track be one of the bloodiest.

A soldier stands guard at Gush Etzion Junction in the Gush Etzion settlements compound, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 2, 2023. REUTERS/Dedi Hayun
Israeli forces guard a settler compound in the occupied West Bank on February 2, 2023 [File: Hayun/Reuters]

Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian man who they claim was approaching them with a knife drawn, the latest killing of a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian health ministry announced the death of Yazan Omar Jamil Khasib, 23, who died “after the occupation [Israeli forces] opened fire on him at the northern entrance of el-Bireh” city near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, on Friday.

None of the Israeli forces was harmed.

The Israeli army later said its forces “spotted a suspect and asked him to identify himself”. They claimed the man then drew a knife and Israeli troops opened fire and “neutralised” him, the army said in a statement, adding the killing took place close to Beitin, a Palestinian village near el-Bireh.

Since the start of this year, at least 84 Palestinians, including children, have been killed by Israeli forces.

On Thursday, at least four Palestinians, including a teenager, were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. A week earlier, Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in a Jenin raid and, less than 48 hours later, six others were killed in another raid in the same city.

In January, Israeli soldiers killed nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, during a large-scale operation carried out in the Jenin refugee camp.

Palestinian attacks against Israelis led to the death of 14 people in 2023.

Friday’s killing of the 23-year-old adds to the current round of bloodshed and puts 2023 on track to be one of the worst years for violence in the Palestinian territories for years.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem in all of 2022, making last year one the deadliest in the occupied territories since 2004, according to the human rights group B’Tselem.

During the same period in 2022, 30 Israelis were killed, according to news reports.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies