JERUSALEM – A raid by Israeli security forces into the northern West Bank set off a gunfight with militants that killed a young Palestinian man on Tuesday, Palestinian health officials said. Elsewhere in the occupied territory, Israeli medics said that an assailant opened fire, wounding at least four people.
The Israeli military stormed into the dense Balata refugee camp near the city of Nablus and surrounded a concrete apartment building, Palestinian residents said. Palestinian militants opened fire and threw explosive devices and stones at the troops. A 19-year-old, Faris al-Hashash, was killed, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Israeli security forces withdrew from Balata two hours later without making any arrests.
Spontaneous celebrations erupted in the neighborhood as Israeli military jeeps and bulldozers rumbled away. Wanted Palestinian militant Issam al-Salaj, the presumed target of the raid, crowd-surfed among scores of gunmen, who chanted “God is great!” and cheered the Israeli military's alleged failure to arrest him.
The Israeli military said it confiscated explosive devices and a handmade weapon from the refugee camp. It opened fire at a gunman fleeing the scene, as well as toward Palestinians trying to attack troops with explosive devices and rocks, the military said. It added that two Palestinian minors were wounded during the raid under circumstances that were being investigated.
Also in the northern West Bank, just southwest of the flash point city of Jenin, a drive-by shooting attack targeting an Israeli car moderately wounded at least four people, Israel's rescue service said. The assailant fled in a speeding car, setting off a manhunt around the Palestinian town of Yabad, videos showed.
The Israeli military did not immediately identify the victims of the attack. Israeli medics said they evacuated all four people to the hospital fully conscious. One of them was a 33-year-old man, medics added. There was no immediate claim of responsibility from a Palestinian militant group.
Tuesday's incidents were the latest in a surge of violence that has gripped the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem for more than a year. At least 119 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in those areas since the start of 2023, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Nearly half of them were affiliated with militant groups, though the Israeli military says that number is much higher. In that time, Palestinian attacks against Israelis have killed 21 people in Israel and the West Bank.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinians seek the territories for their hoped-for independent state.