Israeli forces have killed two Palestinian men during a military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, taking the total number of Palestinians killed this year to 94.
“Two citizens were killed by the occupation bullets in Nablus,” the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement on Monday.
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The two men, identified by the Palestinian WAFA news agency as Mohammad Abu Baker al-Junaidi and Mohammad Saeed Nasser, were accused by the Israeli army of being involved in an attack in February that killed two Israelis in Huwara.
Ahmad Jibril, the head of the Palestinian Red Crescent, said dozens of people in al-Makhfiyeh neighbourhood were injured after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli forces in the early morning.
The Israeli army said its forces fired bullets after coming under fire during the raid, which lasted for about two and a half hours.
Al-Junaidi was the Fatah party’s secretary-general in the village of Juneid and an armed fighter. The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority currently governs the West Bank.
Nasser, 21, was a member of the Lions’ Den – a group which formally emerged in December last year amid a phenomenon of growing armed Palestinian resistance, particularly in Nablus and Jenin.
Two Palestinians, Izz al-Din Touqan and Nidal Tabanja, were arrested during the raid after being accused by Israel of having helped al-Junaidi and Nasser.
Israeli far-right settlers went on a rampage in Huwara on February 27, after the Israelis were killed, burning down dozens of cars and houses in what was dubbed a “pogrom”. Days later, Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for Huwara to be “wiped out”.
Nablus and nearby Jenin have been the focus of violent incursions that Israel has intensified over the past year.
On February 22, at least 11 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 were injured amid an Israeli raid in Nablus that triggered widespread confrontations.
Israel has stepped up its military raids in the occupied West Bank since June 2021, following a popular Palestinian uprising known as the “May outburst” that swept Israel and the Palestinian territories it has illegally occupied since 1967.
The raids have led to an increase in the number of Palestinians killed, including civilians, as well as Palestinian fighters.
In March 2022, following a series of individual Palestinian attacks inside Israel, the Israeli army launched a military campaign that led to 2022 being marked by the United Nations as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2006.
Some 171 Palestinians, including more than 30 children, were killed by the Israeli army in the West Bank last year.
Separately, at least 49 other Palestinians, including 17 children, were killed during a three-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip in August, bringing the total number of Palestinian deaths last year to more than 220.