- The Israeli army killed three Palestinians on Thursday.
- American Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin will visit Israel.
- The UN peacekeeper called for an end to the violence.
Three Palestinians were shot by Israeli border police in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry said, with an Israeli minister saying suspected terrorists first fired at undercover officers.
The deadly attack came just hours before Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin was to arrive in Israel for talks and the United Nations urged both sides to “urgently” end the cycle of violence in the West Bank.
The Palestinian ministry announced the “martyrdom” of three people killed by Israeli forces in Jabba, near the flashpoint northern city of Jenin.
Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is responsible for the border police, praised undercover officers for “taking out the despicable terrorists who opened fire on our fighters”.
The health ministry identified the dead as 26-year-old Sufyan Fakhoury, 22-year-old Ahmed Fashafsha and 25-year-old Nayef Malysha. It did not provide further details.
A gunman holds a weapon during a funeral procession for three Palestinians killed by Israeli border police in Jabba in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli police said special forces along with soldiers were in Jaba to arrest suspects involved in shooting attacks against soldiers in the area, including Fakhouri and Fashafsha.
It said the pair were operatives of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad.
Police said, “During the operation, shots were fired at the undercover officers of the Border Police from the car of the wanted persons. The undercover officers of the Border Police returned fire and killed the three armed men in the car.” ,
The police statement said:
Several guns and explosive devices were found in the vehicle.
In a statement, Islamic Jihad condemned Israel for the “heinous killing” in Jabba.
The Palestinian health ministry on Thursday announced the seventh death from Tuesday’s raid – he was identified as 14-year-old Walid Nasser.
Thursday’s raid came just hours before the Pentagon chief was due to arrive in Israel for talks, which will be taken from the defense ministry in Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion airport in the wake of continued Israeli protests against the hard-line government that took office in December. Was gone
read | Violence erupts around Gaza after deadly attack on Israeli West Bank
“At the request of Israel’s Defense Ministry, the location of Secretary Austin’s bilateral meetings in Tel Aviv on Thursday will be moved from the Defense Ministry to a location near the airport,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder said.
A senior US defense official said Israeli officials had “concerns about the planned protest near the Defense Ministry’s headquarters” in Tel Aviv.
“Of course, the US supports the right to conduct peaceful and non-violent protests… and looks forward to productive discussions,” the official said.
Nine consecutive weeks of protests have been held in Tel Aviv by opponents of legal reforms backed by the new government that would give politicians more power over the courts.
They have drawn thousands of protesters.
Seven Palestinians were killed in a raid by Israeli forces in Jenin on Tuesday, including a Hamas member accused of killing two Israeli settlers last month.
UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Vansland said on Wednesday that “the cycle of violence … must stop immediately”, calling on Israelis and Palestinians to “exercise calm and restraint”.
The Palestinian Health Ministry announced on Thursday the seventh death from Tuesday’s raid – he was identified as 14-year-old Walid Nassar.
The violence in the West Bank comes against a backdrop of rising tensions since the start of the year, which coincides with the tenure of the hard-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which took power in December.
Some observers fear further violence during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which begins in late March, and the Jewish holiday of Passover in April, particularly around Jerusalem’s holy sites.
Since the beginning of the year, the conflict has claimed the lives of 75 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians.
Thirteen Israeli adults and children have been killed in the same period, including members of the security forces and civilians, and one Ukrainian citizen, according to an AFP tally based on official sources on both sides.
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