Israeli troops kill Palestinian in West Bank

JERUSALEM (HPD) — Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said, amid a spate of violence. The Israeli army said the Palestinian had tried to stab a soldier.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the deceased as 20-year-old Aref Abdel Nasser Lahlouh. The Israeli army said the man was carrying a knife and was shot when he tried to attack a soldier at a military post.

Lahlouh’s death brings to 19 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire so far this year. Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year, the deadliest since 2004, according to figures from the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

Tension has been high for months. Israel conducts nightly arrest raids in the West Bank, sparked by a series of Palestinian attacks on Israelis last spring. Some 30 people were killed in Israel by Palestinian attacks in 2022.

Israel claims that most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But other people have also died, such as young people who protested against the incursions or people who did not participate in the violence.

Earlier Wednesday, Israeli forces bulldozed the home of a Palestinian who allegedly shot dead an Israeli soldier in an attack last year that sparked a major search operation and massive security deployment in the East Jerusalem neighborhood where he lived.

The demolition came in the first weeks of the new far-right Israeli government, which has imposed a tough strategy against the Palestinians and vowed to push for settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

Some 300 officers and soldiers entered the Shuafat refugee camp to demolish Uday Tamimi’s house, according to police. Israel blames Tamimi for deadly shooting at a roadblock in October.

After killing the 19-year-old soldier, the assailant fled, triggering a week of searches and harsh restrictions on Shuafat. As part of the search, Israeli security forces blocked all access to the camp, bringing the lives of its approximately 60,000 inhabitants to a standstill.

Finally, Tamimi was shot to death after shooting at security guards at the entrance to Maale Adumim, a large Israeli settlement in the West Bank east of Jerusalem.

Israel’s new National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultra-nationalist who is in charge of the police, welcomed the demolition.

“This step is very important, but it is not enough at all. We must destroy all terrorist housing and deport the country’s own terrorists,” he said in a statement.

Israel was bulldozing homes of attackers long before this government came to power, and it says the strategy deters future attacks. Palestinians and rights groups view it as a form of collective punishment.

Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, along with the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Middle East War. The Palestinians claim those territories to form an independent state.

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