Ramallah (AP) — Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, the latest death in a spiral of violence that has rocked the region.
The Health Ministry said 22-year-old Saleh Sabra was killed after being shot in the chest in the flashpoint West Bank city of Nablus, a frequent site of Israeli operations.
The Israeli military said that troops preparing to demolish the home of a Palestinian attacker came under fire and shot back. Israel demolishes the homes of attackers in an attempt to deter others, a tactic critics say amounts to collective punishment.
The death comes after more than a year of relentless violence in the West Bank, where the Israeli military has been conducting near-nightly raids in response to Palestinian attacks against Israelis. It also follows a deadly five-day burst of fighting between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip.
More than 250 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched the West Bank raids in March of last year, with 112 of those killed just this year according to a tally by The Associated Press. Israel says most of the dead were militants, but youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations have also been killed. During the Gaza fighting last week, 33 Palestinians were killed, with 18 of them identified as militants.
Since the violence erupted last year, 51 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis.
Tensions are expected to surge again later this week, when Israeli nationalists hold an annual march through the main Palestinian thoroughfare in Jerusalem’s Old City. The march, which marks the Israeli capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, often gets rowdy, with participants chanting slurs against Arabs. The Palestinians see the gathering as provocative.
In 2021, after weeks of Israeli-Palestinian unrest in Jerusalem, authorities changed the route of the march at the last minute to avoid the Palestinian area. But it was too late by then, and Hamas militants in Gaza fired a barrage of rockets toward Jerusalem as the procession was getting underway. That set off 11 days of heavy fighting in Gaza.