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West Bank: Palestinian teen killed by Israeli forces in Nablus raid

Hamza al-Ashkar, 17, becomes the 42nd Palestinian killed by Israeli fire this year
Hamza al-Ashkar, 17, killed during an Israeli raid on Nablus, a city north of the occupied West Bank (Screengrab)
Hamza al-Ashkar, 17, killed during an Israeli raid on Nablus, a city north of the occupied West Bank (Social media)

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday morning.

Hamza al-Ashkar, 17, was hit in the face by Israeli troops who fired live bullets at Palestinians during a raid in the north West Bank city.

He is the 42nd Palestinian to be killed by Israeli fire this year.

The Lions' Den, a local armed group, said in a statement that its fighters engaged in fire exchanges with the raiding Israeli forces. No casualties were reported on the Israeli side.

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The group mourned the death of Ashkar but stopped short of saying that he was a member of the group. It said he died while "confronting" Israeli forces. It was not immediately clear whether he was armed or not.   

"They killed him in cold blood," Ashkar's father told local media. "A sniper just shot him and killed him."

The Israeli army said in a statement that Palestinians threw stones, explosive devices, Molotov cocktails and opened fire at troops operating in Nablus. They returned fire and a "suspect was hit", it added.  

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Palestinian media reported that Palestinian fighters targeted an Israeli army base overnight north of Nablus city, near the illegal settlement of Shafi Shimron. No Israeli casualties were reported. 

Israeli forces conduct raid-and-arrest operations across the West Bank on a near-nightly basis, often leading to the wounding or killing of Palestinians. 

On Tuesday, Israeli forces arrested 27 Palestinians in Jenin, Qalqilya and the refugee camp of Qalandia. In the village of Burqin near Jenin city, at least 19 people were arrested in a night raid.

Thursday's deaths come amid a spike in Israeli violence against Palestinians in the West Bank this year and a resurgence of Palestinian armed resistance.   

On Monday, Israeli forces killed five Palestinians in the city of Jericho, in the Jordan Valley, after it imposed a nine-day road closure over the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp.

The Palestinians who exchanged fire with Israeli forces were reported to be members of Hamas' armed wing, the Qassam Brigades. Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, mourned them as "heroes”.

According to data from Middle East Eye, Israeli forces killed 167 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022, more than they have in any calendar year since the Second Intifada. Palestinians killed 30 Israelis in various attacks in the same period.

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