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Israeli forces kill two Palestinians as 2023 death toll rises to 20

Aref Lahlouh and Salah Ali were shot dead in the West Bank as death toll of Palestinians killed by Israel continues to rise
Aref Abdel Nasser Lahlouh, 20, was killed by Israeli forces in Qalqilya (Social media/Twitter)

Israeli troops killed two Palestinian men on Wednesday, according to Palestinian officials, raising the death toll of Palestinians killed so far this year to 20.

The Palestinian health ministry said Israeli forces killed Aref Abdel Nasser Lahlouh, a 20-year-old from the Jenin refugee camp, in the occupied West Bank city of Qalqilya.

Palestinian state news agency Wafa said that Lahlouh was killed in front of his mother and brother. The Israeli military claimed that he was shot after attempting a knife attack against a soldier at a military checkpoint. 

The ministry later reported that a second Palestinian, Mohammed Ali, was fatally shot in the chest in East Jerusalem, following a raid by Israeli forces into the Shuafat refugee camp.

Online footage shows young Palestinian men throwing stones at Israeli vehicles and Israeli soldiers responding with live fire. The latest fatalities bring the number of Palestinians killed this year to 20, including three children.

According to data compiled by Middle East Eye, Israeli forces killed more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022 than in any single calendar year since the Second Intifada.

At least 220 people died in Israeli attacks across the occupied territories in 2022, including 48 children. Of the total death toll, 167 were from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and 53 were from the Gaza Strip.

'Collective punishment'

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli forces demolished the home of Uday Tamimi, a Palestinian man who allegedly killed a female Israeli soldier last year. 

Following a shooting at a checkpoint in October, Israel embarked on a week-long operation that culminated in the death of Tamimi. 

The Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian assailants' homes has been condemned by rights groups as a form of "collective punishment" inflicted on the suspects' families.

Israel's new far-right government welcomed the demolition.

In a statement, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who oversees the police, said: "This step is very important, but not enough at all.

"We must destroy all terrorists' homes and deport the terrorists themselves from the country."

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