An Israeli soldier was killed Tuesday in a shooting in the northern West Bank, the army announced, saying the forces were looking for the attackers.
It was the latest in a wave of deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence in the area. They came days after an Israeli female soldier was killed at a checkpoint in East Jerusalem, and 24 hours after a 12-year-old Palestinian boy died from injuries sustained in an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank.
Israel has carried out overnight arrest raids across the West Bank since a series of attacks on Israelis in the spring killed 19 people. Most of this activity has been concentrated in the northern West Bank.
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Israeli fire killed more than 100 Palestinians during that period, making it the deadliest year in the occupied territories since 2015.
The Israeli army claims that the vast majority of those killed were militants or stone throwers who endangered the soldiers. But several civilians were also killed during the months-long Israeli operation, including a veteran journalist and a lawyer who apparently entered a battle zone unintentionally. Local youths who took to the streets in response to the invasion of their neighborhoods were also killed. At least three Israeli soldiers also died.
Israel says the arrest raids are aimed at dismantling the militants’ networks. The Palestinians say the operations have undermined their own security forces and aim to strengthen Israel’s 55 years of military occupation of the territories they wish for an independent state.
The military said Tuesday’s shooting took place near the Jewish settlement of Shavei Shomron, a few kilometers (miles) northwest of the Palestinian city of Nablus. He said the soldiers were attacked by a couple of attackers in an escaped vehicle.
The Den of Lions, a new militant group led by young Nablus fighters, has claimed responsibility.
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“A group of our heroic fighters carried out a qualitative operation,” the group said in a statement. “We tell the settlers who are besieging the city of Nablus from all directions, today we will see who will besiege whom.”
In Jerusalem, meanwhile, Israeli forces continued to search the Shuafat refugee camp for the gunman who killed a female soldier on Saturday night.
Israel conquered the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War. The area is now home to approximately 500,000 Israeli settlers. The international community largely considers illegal settlements and obstacles to peace.
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The Palestinians claim the entire West Bank, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, for a future independent state.