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Two Israeli soldiers wounded in Huwwara shooting

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) has released a statement taking responsibility for the shooting
Israeli soldiers gather at a checkpoint at the entrance of the Palestinian town of Huwwara, in the occupied West Bank on 19 March (AFP/File photo)

Two Israeli soldiers were wounded on Saturday, the military said, in a drive-by shooting claimed by a Palestinian armed group in the flashpoint town of Huwara in the occupied West Bank

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) said in a statement that it had carried out the shooting. The military said it was in pursuit of the suspect.

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It was the third shooting reported around Huwwara within a month, raising fears of escalation during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan that partly coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover, a time when violence has touched off in the past.

Allaying some concern, the first Friday Ramadan prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound - a tinder-box holy site in Jerusalem, ended peacefully despite Israel's movement restrictions.

But on Saturday night, Israeli police said they had entered the mosque compound to remove some worshippers who they said were planning to "violate public order" and disrupt early morning prayers and visits by Israelis and tourists. 

There was no immediate response from Palestinian or Muslim officials who have in the past condemned Israeli forces entering the shrine. 

On Thursday, Israeli forces shot dead a 25-year-old Palestinian man during a raid southeast of Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank. 

Over the past year, Israeli forces have made thousands of arrests in the West Bank and killed more than 200 Palestinians, including fighters and civilians, while more than 40 Israelis and three Ukrainians have died in Palestinian attacks.

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