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Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in West Bank ambush

Local reports say troops withheld bodies of men killed inside their car
Mourners lay roses at the site where three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces near the Jenin camp, north of the occupied West Bank, on 6 August (AFP)

Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in an ambush after firing at their vehicle near the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Sunday.

The apparent targeted killing took place on a road near Arraba town, southwest of Jenin. 

After firing dozens of bullets at the car and killing the three men inside, Israeli forces prevented medics from reaching them and withheld their bodies and the vehicle, according to Palestinian media reports. 

The trio's deaths were confirmed by the Palestinian health ministry.

An official statement from the Islamic Jihad group, a Palestinian faction, claimed one of the dead as its member and said another was a 15-year-old boy. Palestinian medics said the bodies were being held by Israeli forces.

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The Israeli military said that in a joint operation with the Shin Bet, Israel's internal intelligence agency, it killed three Palestinians who it said were part of "cell" that was on its way to attack Israelis.

The statement provided no further details on the nature of the alleged threat from the three men. 

Israeli forces make similar statements when carrying out targeted killings or assassinations, claiming the targets posed a threat. 

Palestinian movement the Islamic Jihad in a statement called the "assassinations" a "full-fledged crime". Hamas said the Palestinian people will ensure that the "occupation will pay the price". 

The killings come nearly a month after Israeli forces carried out a major two-day raid in Jenin, in which they killed 12 Palestinians and left widespread destruction. 

The incident also follows a tense weekend after an Israeli settler fatally shot a 19-year-old Palestinian near Ramallah on Friday night and a Palestinian man from Jenin killed an Israeli municipal officer hours later in Tel Aviv in an apparent retaliatory attack. 

For the past two years, Jenin has become a target of increased deadly Israeli raids. At least 100 Palestinians from the northern West Bank city have been killed since 2022 in such attacks. 

According to a Middle East Eye tally, at least 207 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in 2023, including 35 children - a rate of nearly one fatality per day.

A total of 171 people have died in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, making 2023 one of the bloodiest years in the occupied Palestinian territories. Another 36 people were killed in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have killed 26 Israelis in the same period, including six children.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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