Palestinians say teen dies after Israeli raid in West Bank



JERUSALEM: A Palestinian teenager was killed early on Wednesday following an Israeli raid in the city of Nablus, near a flashpoint site in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. The army said it was protecting worshippers and fired on a suspect who had placed an explosive device nearby, which detonated.
Palestinian officials identified him as Mahdi Hashash, 15, and said he was killed by shrapnel during an Israeli raid. A branch of the militant Palestinian group Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade called the teen “our martyr”.
The army said it was protecting civilians visiting the site known to Jews as the biblical Joseph’s Tomb. The army said gunshots were heard in the area and the military fired back, including on the person with the explosive device.
It was not immediately clear whether the raid was connected to a visit on Tuesday evening by eight Knesset members, incoming lawmakers and allies of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who prevailed in last week’s national election.
Eight members of Netanyahu’s Likud party and his right wing allies said in a statement that they had visited after dark.
The clash came during one of the deadliest years on both sides of the conflict, including after last week’s national elections. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prevailed, with the backing of a far-right ultranationalist party.
Palestinian attackers have killed at least 24 people in Israel since the start of 2022. Intensified Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem has also killed some 130 Palestinians this year, making it the deadliest since 2006, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, and has since maintained a military occupation over the territory and settled more than 500,000 people there.
The Palestinians seek the territory, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, for a future independent state.
Some Jews believe the biblical Joseph is buried in the Nablus tomb, while Muslims say a sheikh is buried there. The army escorts Jewish worshippers to the site, known to Jews as Joseph’s Tomb, several times a year, in coordination with Palestinian security forces.
As Israeli-Palestinian violence has flared this year, the site has again become a flashpoint.
In April, some 100 Palestinians marched toward Joseph’s Tomb and set it ablaze before they were dispersed by Palestinian security forces. Images on social media showed parts of the tomb inside the shrine smashed and charred.
Earlier this month, the Israeli military said forces escorting Jewish worshippers to the shrine came under fire and then shot back. An 18-year-old Palestinian man was killed in the violence.


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