Palestinian Israeli conflict

Israeli forces kill Palestinian boy in West Bank: Ministry

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The Israeli army killed a Palestinian child Thursday in the West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian health ministry said, where armed clashes broke out between militants and Israeli forces.

The health ministry announced “Amer Abu Zeitoun, 16, was killed by a bullet in the head fired by the occupation (Israeli) soldiers during the aggression on Nablus at dawn today.”

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The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request by AFP to comment on the overnight operation.

In a statement the Lions’ Den, a local Palestinian militant group, said its fighters had been involved in the overnight clashes in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus.

Zeitoun is the fourth Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the start of the year.

On Tuesday, 15-year-old Adam Essam Shaker Ayyad was killed in Bethlehem as Israel said its forces fired on people throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

In December, the United Nations said 2022 had been the deadliest year in the West Bank since its records began in 2005 with more than 150 Palestinians killed.

The inauguration last week of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, has sparked fears of a military escalation in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.

Two of Netanyahu’s extreme-right coalition partners, who have a history of inflammatory remarks about Palestinians, have taken charge of critical powers regarding the West Bank.

Bezalel Smotrich holds the portfolio for Israeli settlement policy in the territory, while Itamar Ben-Gvir serves as national security minister with powers over the border police force which operate there.

They took office at the end of a year which saw at least 26 Israelis and 230 Palestinians killed across Israel and the Palestinian territories, according to an AFP tally.

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