Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian man during a raid in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials and the Israeli police said, as Israeli incursions into the territory show no signs of letting up during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Palestinian health ministry said 25-year-old Amir Abu Khadijeh was shot in the head in the city of Tulkarem on Thursday. Large crowds took to the streets to protest Abu Khadijeh’s killing when his body reached hospital, Palestinian media outlets reported.
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A statement from the Israeli border police said its undercover unit was involved in a raid in the early hours of Thursday to arrest a Palestinian man it suspected of involvement in several shooting attacks. The forces surrounded the house he was in and fired at the man after he aimed a weapon at them, the border police claimed.
The Tulkarem Brigade, one of several new armed groups to emerge in the West Bank over the past year, said Abu Khadijeh was one of its founders and described the killing as an “assassination”.
An activist from the Palestinian Fatah movement, Murad Droubi, told local media that Israeli forces stormed Shufa, an area in Tulkarem, and closed off its main entrance to vehicles and residents, before surrounding the house where Abu Khadija was hiding.
Israeli forces also arrested the owner of the flat where Abu Khadijeh was killed, according to Palestinian media.
Thursday marked the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in the Palestinian territories.
In previous years, Ramadan has seen Israeli police attack Palestinians gathered around Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site. Ramadan coincides this year with Judaism’s Passover and Christian Easter.
In 2021, the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem was the catalyst for widespread Palestinian protests across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
Raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli security forces during Ramadan heightened tensions further and, four days later, an 11-day Israeli assault on Gaza began, ostensibly in response to rockets fired by Hamas towards Israel.
On Sunday, Israeli and Palestinian officials made commitments to de-escalate violence at a meeting attended by US, Egyptian and Jordanian delegations in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The Israeli-occupied West Bank has seen a surge of confrontations in recent months, with near-daily Israeli military raids and escalating violence by Jewish settlers, amid a spate of attacks by Palestinians.
Over the past year, Israeli forces have killed more than 250 Palestinians in the West Bank, including fighters and civilians. More than 40 Israelis and three Ukrainians have died in Palestinian attacks in the same period.