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Israeli army kills 2 Palestinians in West Bank clashes


JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli army killed two Palestinian teenagers on Friday during clashes in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The ministry identified the two Palestinians, killed in separate episodes, as Adel Daoud, 14, shot in the head at the Israeli separation barrier near the Palestinian town of Qalqilya, and Mahdi Ladadweh, 17, killed in clashes in a village northwest of Ramallah.

The men were among more than 100 Palestinians killed in the West Bank so far in 2022 – the deadliest spasm of violence in seven years.

The Israeli army said troops opened fire in response to a suspect throwing molotov cocktails at them near Qalqilya. He said he would look into the incident.

The military did not immediately comment on the other fatal shooting near Ramallah.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said 50 Palestinians were injured in clashes in the village of Al Mazraa al-Gharbiya near Ramallah, as the Israeli army fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. Crowds of Palestinians gathered outside the Ramallah hospital where Ladadweh was pronounced dead, chanting against Israel.

Palestinian media quoted residents as saying that clashes with Israeli security forces erupted as dozens of Palestinians from Al Mazraa al-Gharbiya came out to protest the incursions and attacks on the village by Israeli settlers.

Violence has escalated sharply in the West Bank in recent months, largely due to a spike in Israeli arrests after a series of Palestinian attacks in Israel that killed 19 people last spring, some of which were carried out by Palestinians from the West Bank.

Israel says its operations are aimed at dismantling militant infrastructure and preventing future attacks, and that it was forced to act due to the ineffectiveness of the Palestinian security forces. For Palestinians, the nightly raids on their towns, villages and cities have reinforced Israeli control over the land Palestinians want for the state they hope for.

According to Israel, most of those killed were activists, but local youths protesting the incursions as well as civilians were also killed in the violence. Hundreds of people have been arrested, many held in so-called administrative detention, which allows Israel to detain them without trial or charge.

The violence is also fueled by the growing disillusionment of young Palestinians with the close security coordination between Israel and the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority, which work together to apprehend the militants.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war and 500,000 Jewish settlers now live in some 130 settlements and other outposts among nearly 3 million Palestinians. The Palestinians want this territory, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, for their future state.