Israeli gunfire kills 17-year-old boy in West Bank, Palestinian health officials say

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli forces shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian boy in the occupied West Bank on Friday, Palestinian health officials said, the latest bloodshed in a more than year-long cycle of violence that has gripped the area.

The boy – whom Palestinian health officials identified as Muhammad Fouad Atta al-Bayed – was shot in the head by Israeli forces during unrest in the village of Umm Safa, north of Ramallah. The village has been the target of attacks by Jewish settlers in recent weeks.

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades in clashes with local residents. The Ministry of Health confirmed that at least one other person had been shot in the chest.

The Israeli military said a member of the paramilitary Border Police unit opened fire after masked suspects threw rocks and stones at Israeli forces. He confirmed that one person had been hit by gunfire, but gave no further details.

Earlier in the day, Palestinians and Israelis clashed in the village of Beit Umar, north of Hebron in the southern West Bank. The army said three members of the Israeli forces were lightly injured, including an officer who was hit by shrapnel in an explosion.

He said soldiers opened fire in response to throwing rocks and explosives, hitting a suspect who allegedly threw a bomb. There were no immediate details from Palestinian officials.

Earlier this month in Umm Safa, Palestinian health officials said a man was fatally shot in the chest by Israeli forces during a protest.

It’s part of a year-long spiral of violence that shows no sign of abating, one of the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in years. More than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to an Associated Press tally.

Violence between Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank escalated early last year when Israel expanded near-night raids into Palestinian areas in response to a series of Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

Israeli says most of those killed were militants, but young stone-throwers protesting the army raids and others not involved in the clashes were also killed.

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