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Israel raid kills West Bank militant, wounds health worker: Palestinians

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Israel raid kills West Bank militant, wounds health worker: Palestinians

Israeli forces on Thursday killed a Palestinian militant and shot a health worker during a raid on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.

A relative reacts during the funeral of Mustafa al-Kastouni, 32, killed in an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank

A relative reacts during the funeral of Mustafa al-Kastouni, 32, killed in an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank© Zain JAAFAR

The West Bank has seen a surge in violence since early last year, with a string of attacks by Palestinians on Israeli targets, repeated Israeli army raids and violence by Jewish settlers against Palestinian communities.

Palestinians check the damage on a house in Jenin following an Israeli military raid

Palestinians check the damage on a house in Jenin following an Israeli military raid© Zain JAAFAR

“Mustafa al-Kastouni, 32, was killed after being shot in the head, chest and abdomen by the occupation (Israeli forces) during an aggression on Jenin,” the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement.

Mahmud Saadi, director of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Jenin, told AFP that two people were injured in the raid, including a female medic who was shot in the chest and kidney.

Jenin’s deputy governor, Kamal Abu al-Rub, said the woman was in a critical condition.

Jamil Hardan, the owner of one of the buildings destroyed in the raid, told AFP that Israeli forces had entered Jenin at around 07:15 am.

“A car stopped… followed by another silver car. Army special forces in military uniforms jumped out,” he said.

“They kidnapped two young men from the street,” he said, adding that they shot Kastouni in the process.

The Israeli army said its forces entered Jenin to detain wanted Palestinians, but provided no immediate comment when asked by AFP about the reported shooting of a healthcare worker.

Armed Palestinian militants attend the funeral of Mustafa al-Kastouni

Armed Palestinian militants attend the funeral of Mustafa al-Kastouni© Zain JAAFAR

The military said the militant, whose last name it gave as Kumbua, “was shot and killed after shooting at the forces and attempting to flee during the apprehension attempt”.

Israeli forces came under live fire as they detained two people and one soldier was lightly wounded by shrapnel, the army said in a statement.

Forces “immediately responded with live fire and breached the building” where they found weapons, it added.

– Rubble in the street –

An AFP photographer saw Palestinians gathered following the raid around a heap of shattered timber and rubble in a narrow street of the city, a stronghold of Palestinian militants in the northern West Bank.

The Jenin Brigades, a local armed group, said Kastouni was killed when fighters had confronted Israeli forces with “salvos of bullets and explosive devices” as the troops “infiltrated” Jenin.

Kastouni himself was a fighter from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a militant group linked to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement, the Jenin Brigades said.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 and its forces regularly carry out incursions into areas such as Jenin which are nominally under Abbas’s Palestinian Authority security control.

At least 48 Palestinians including civilians and militants have been killed so far this year in Israeli raids on Jenin city and its refugee camp.

They are among at least 217 Palestinians killed this year in violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with 28 Israelis, one Ukrainian and an Italian, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides.

On the Israeli side, the figures include three members of the Jewish state’s Arab minority.

Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the West Bank is home to nearly three million Palestinians and around 490,000 Israelis, who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.

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AFP


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