Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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NABLUS, Palestinian Territories — Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the Palestinian health ministry said, the latest deaths in a surge of violence in the territory since early last year.

“Three Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bullets in Nablus,” the ministry said. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said the three were members of its armed wing.

The Israeli forces said three “armed terrorists” had opened fire on its soldiers from a vehicle in a Nablus neighborhood and the Israeli forces fired back “to neutralize” them.

The soldiers recovered three M-16 rifles, a gun, cartridges and other military equipment, the army said in a statement.

The Palestinian health ministry identified the dead as Nour Al Deen Al Ardah, 32, Montaser Salameh, 33, and Saad Al Kharaz, 43.

Hamas said the three were members of its Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades armed wing.

“We mourn our heroic Qassam martyrs who died this morning in an armed clash with the occupation forces in Nablus,” Hamas said in a statement.

The Palestinian president’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said the killing of the three men amounted to a “war crime”.

“Israeli crimes will not bring our people to their knees, and will not bring security and stability to anyone,” he said in a statement.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the June War of 1967.

Since early last year, the territory has seen a string of attacks by Palestinians on Israeli targets, as well as violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian communities.

Violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year has killed at least 201 Palestinians, 27 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides.

They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.

Excluding Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank is home to nearly three million Palestinians, as well as around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.

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