JERUSALEM (AFP): Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man and wounded three others in West Bank clashes early Wednesday, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said, a day after the fatal shooting of another Palestinian.
The Israeli army told AFP it was “conducting counterterrorism activity” in the city of Jenin, but did not comment on any casualties.
Israeli security forces have stepped up operations in the occupied West Bank, particularly around Jenin where there are active fighters from several armed groups, after a series of attacks in Israel since late March.
The man killed in the latest incident was identified as 21-year-old Ahmad Massad, from the village of Burqin in the northern West Bank.
He was shot in the head, a hospital official told WAFA.
Massad’s death follows that of another Palestinian killed Tuesday when Israeli forces stormed a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank during what the army called a “counter-terrorism” operation that sparked violent riots.
The Palestinian health ministry said 20-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim Oweidat “succumbed to critical wounds sustained by live bullets to the head,” during the shooting in Aqabat Jaber camp near Jericho.
Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians are common in the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
But there has been a wave of bloodshed in the territory and in Israel as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish holiday of Passover overlapped this month.
Massad is among 26 Palestinians and Israeli Arabs killed since late March, among them several assailants, according to an AFP tally.
During the same period, 14 Israelis were killed in various attacks.
Violent clashes have also rocked the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, sparking fears of another conflict after last year’s 11-day war between Israel and armed groups in the Gaza Strip.
Concerns of fresh Al-Aqsa clashes are building, though, ahead of Friday prayers at the compound, with the end of Ramadan also approaching in early May.
Following the Al-Aqsa clashes, isolated rocket fire towards Israel from the Gaza Strip resumed, prompting Israeli reprisals on targets linked to Hamas, the Islamist group which controls the coastal Palestinian enclave.
No injuries have been reported on either side as a result of the rocket fire or retaliatory air strikes.
Palestinian Muslims have been angered by an uptick in Jewish visits to the Al-Aqsa compound, Islam’s third-holiest site. It is also Judaism’s holiest place and known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
In an apparent attempt to ease tensions, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told reporters on Sunday that Israel was committed to the “status quo” at Al-Aqsa, meaning an adherence to long-standing convention allowing Jews to visit the compound but not pray there.