TULKAREM, West Bank (AP) — The Israeli military stormed into a refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank on Friday, sparking a firefight with Palestinian gunmen and killing a Palestinian man, medics said.
The raid into the Tulkarem refugee camp was the latest deadly Israeli military operation into Palestinian cities and towns following a monthslong surge of violence that has escalated regional tensions, highlighted the weaknesses of the Palestinian Authority and helped fuel rising militancy in the restive occupied territory.
The Israeli military said that Palestinians hurled explosive devices, fireworks and stones at troops, who fired back. Palestinian gunmen also blocked the roads, opened fire and burned tires in the cramped alleys of the camp, the army said. The Palestinian Red Crescent said that one man was killed and three others were wounded by Israeli fire.
The Tulkarem branch of a loosely organized militant group known as the Lion’s Den — which emerged in the northern city of Nablus last year — identified the man killed as Mahmoud Jarad and claimed him as a member.
Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank has surged to levels unseen in nearly two decades, with more than 160 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023, according to a tally by The Associated Press.
Israel says most of those killed have been militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting the raids and others not involved in the confrontations have also been killed.
At least 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis during that time.
Israel says the raids are essential to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see the violence as a natural response to 56 years of occupation, including stepped-up settlement construction by Israel’s government and increased violence by Jewish settlers.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.