Palestine: Second Israeli soldier killed as West Bank violence escalates
An Israeli soldier shot in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday has been pronounced dead following an attack claimed by Nablus-based Palestinian armed group Lion's Den, according to a spokesperson for the Israeli military.
Security sources were searching for the gunmen, who opened fire from a passing car, according to Haaretz.
The soldier was shot near Shavei Shomron, an Israeli settlement near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, during a settler march headed to the nearby Palestinian town of Sebastia. They were the second soldier killed in the West Bank in four days.
The shooting follows rising tensions in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which have escalated following a number of killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces and the beginning of the week-long Jewish Sukkot holiday.
Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank city of Jenin on Saturday morning, hours after it killed two more minors, including a 14-year-old boy, near Qalqilya and Ramallah.
Residents of occupied East Jerusalem's Shuafat refugee camp have been besieged in the neighbourhood for four days, with some unable to leave to receive critical health treatments and many basic supplies running low, as Israeli forces enforce a strict blockade.
Israeli troops locked down the camp, located just two kilometres from the Old City, after an Israeli soldier was killed on Saturday by a man who approached a checkpoint leading to the camp and opened fire.
Israeli police identified a suspect, who is still at large, a 22-year-old Palestinian resident of Shuafat. Israeli media reports said his mother, father and brother had all been detained.
Israeli forces have also closed all entrances to the town of Anata, and the suburb of al-Salam, northeast of East Jerusalem.
The Shuafat camp was reported to be swarming with Israeli soldiers on Monday as the search for the suspect continued.
"The incursions are continuing and large military forces are entering the camp, raising their weapons towards the people," said Thaer al-Fasfos, an activist and member of the camp's popular committee.
'There are a lot of cases who need dialysis, as well as cancer patients who are unable to get access to treatment or chemotherapy'
- Thaer al-Fasfos, Shuafat camp activist
"Special [Israeli] units are also on the ground, causing injuries to people, with no one able to help or assist them."
Describing the situation within Shuafat as "tragic", Fasfos said: "Many patients need to go to hospitals in Jerusalem but have been unable to do so.
"There are a lot of cases who need dialysis, as well as cancer patients who are unable to get access to treatment or chemotherapy in Hadassah Ein Kerem."
More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, including 50 in the Gaza Strip and at least 110 in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The death toll rate in the West Bank is the highest recorded in a single year since 2015.
Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, the second day of Sukkot.
Inside the settlers performed prayers after Israeli police cleared the compound of Muslim worshippers.
Other settlers marched through the streets of the Old City while holding rituals near the gates leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Palestinians have been outraged by repeated intrusions by Israeli settlers to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
By long-standing convention, non-Muslim tourists are allowed to visit under certain conditions and the approval of the Waqf, an Islamic trust that manages the mosque's affairs, but only Muslims are allowed to pray there.
Tor Wennesland, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, issued a statement on Saturday saying he was "alarmed at the deteriorating security situation" and urged Israeli and Palestinian authorities to "restore calm and avoid further escalations".
On Monday, the Palestinian foreign ministry urged the international community to hold Israel accountable for killing more than 160 Palestinians since the beginning of the year.
"Israel deliberately targets Palestinian children and minors with the stated aim of killing and maiming them, thus denying them their right to life," the ministry said.
"Children must never be killed or maimed. The State of Palestine warns that Israel's escalating crimes and deliberate targeting of Palestinian children will continue unabatedly and exponentially if accountability is not urgently and effectively pursued."