Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in West Bank clash

RAMALLAH (Reuters): Israeli forces killed two Palestinians on Saturday in clashes that erupted during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials said, the latest incident in recent months around the flashpoint city of Jenin.

The Israeli military said that security forces on an operation to arrest a wanted gunman from of the Islamic Jihad militant group, came under Palestinian fire.

“Dozens of Palestinians threw explosives and Molotov cocktails at the forces and fired at them. The forces fired at armed suspects. Hits were identified,” the military said on Twitter.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said two Palestinians were killed and 11 were wounded. There was no immediate comment from the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The latest in a near-daily series of incidents around Jenin, a militant stronghold, underlined once more the volatile security climate in the West Bank as Israel heads toward elections on Nov. 1.

“The more the occupation perpetrates its crimes, the tougher the resistance will be,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

More than 70 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since Israel launched its Operation Breakwater against militants on March 31 in response to a string of fatal Palestinian street attacks in Israel. The toll includes militants and civilians.

The surge in violence in the West Bank, where Palestinians have limited self-rule, has been one of the worst such waves there in years.

US-brokered peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, collapsed in 2014 and show no sign of revival.

Israeli security officials have called on the PA to do more to rein in violence by gunmen.

However the PA, increasingly unpopular among many in the West Bank, says its ability to exert its rule has been systematically undermined by Israel’s incursions.