A Palestinian man has been shot and killed by an Israeli settler after entering a settlement in the occupied West Bank armed with knives and explosive devices, the Israeli military said.
Hours later, a 16-year-old Palestinian died after being critically wounded when Israeli troops opened fire on stone-throwing Palestinians in northern West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.
The violence comes a day after a Palestinian gunman shot and wounded Israelis in Tel Aviv — the latest to grip Israel and the West Bank in one of the deadliest periods of unrest among Israelis and Palestinians in years.
The Israeli military said the armed Palestinian slipped into a farm near the settlement of Karnei Shomron, in the northern West Bank, and was fatally shot by an Israeli settler overseeing the land.
Palestinian authorities identified the man as 21-year-old Abed al-Sheikh and said Israeli security forces had raided his house and several others in the nearby Palestinian village of Saniriya.
Hours earlier, Israeli security forces entered the Palestinian village of Naalin and prepared to demolish the family house of the Palestinian suspected of carrying out the shooting in Tel Aviv on Thursday night. The shooter had opened fire near Dizengoff Street in a bustling area of Tel Aviv’s city centre and wounded three Israelis, including one critically.
The Hamas militant group claimed the attacker, a 23-year-old former prisoner named Muataz Khawaja, as a member of the organisation’s armed wing. Hamas said the shooting came in response to an Israeli military arrest raid that day which killed three gunmen in the northern village of Jaba, along with another raid earlier this week which killed seven Palestinians in the flashpoint Jenin refugee camp, including a wanted assailant and a 14-year-old boy.
“We promise more painful strikes throughout our occupied land as long as (Israel’s) aggression continues and its crimes escalate,” the Palestinian militant group said.
As Israeli forces stormed into Naalin and arrested two family members of the suspected gunman for questioning, they said they were met by a barrage of explosive devices, Molotov cocktails and stones. Israeli troops responded with gunfire, which they said hit at least one Palestinian. The person’s condition was unclear.
Further north, Israeli forces entered the Palestinian city of Tulkarm, home to an emerging armed group which has increasingly attracted young Palestinians angry at Israeli violence and disillusioned by their leadership.
There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side.
The past few months have been marked by rising violence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Israel captured along with the Gaza strip in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek those territories for a future independent state.
At least 75 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during military arrest raids and other confrontations so far this year, according to a tally by the Associated Press.
Over that same period, a series of attacks by Palestinians against Israelis has left at least 14 Israelis dead so far this year, all but one of them civilians.
The upsurge in deaths has raised fears of a possible greater escalation under Israel’s most right-wing government in history, which has pledged tough action against the Palestinians.