Palestinians say Israeli troops kill man in West Bank

JERUSALEM (AP): Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, the latest death in a monthslong spiral of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

The circumstances behind the death were not immediately clear. Israeli media reported the man was carrying a knife and attempted to stab the soldiers who were standing guard near a Jewish settlement.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man as Ahmad Kahla, 45. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Tensions have been surging for months in the occupied territory, where the Israeli military has been staging nightly arrest raids since last spring. The raids were prompted by a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people, while another 10 Israelis were killed in a second string of attacks later last year.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 2022, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, making it the deadliest year since 2004. Since the start of this year, 13 Palestinians have been killed, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

Israel says most of the dead were militants. But Palestinian stone-throwers, youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations also have been killed.

Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see them as further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year occupation of lands they seek for their future independent state.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories the Palestinians want for their hoped-for state. Israel has since settled 500,000 people in about 130 settlements across the West Bank, which the Palestinians and much of the international community view as an obstacle to peace.