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Israel carries out biggest Ramallah raid in years

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RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 4 (Reuters) - Israeli forces raided the Palestinian administrative capital of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank overnight, killing a 16-year-old in a refugee camp during their biggest such operation into the city in years, Palestinian sources said on Monday.

The Israeli military said security forces had conducted a counter-terrorism operation in the camp during which a riot broke out, with rocks and petrol bombs thrown at soldiers, who responded with live fire.

In a separate West Bank raid, Israeli forces killed a 10-year-old boy and in the village of Burin, south of Nablus, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. Citing medical sources, it said the boy had been shot in the head by Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Violence has surged across the West Bank in parallel to the Gaza war, with at least 400 Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers, and Israel regularly raiding Palestinian areas across the territory it occupied in 1967.

Witnesses in Ramallah said the Israeli forces had driven dozens of military vehicles into the city, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by President Mahmoud Abbas which exercises limited self-rule over parts of the West Bank.

The Palestinian health ministry said Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Mustafa Abu Shalbak while raiding Am'ari refugee camp.

WAFA reported confrontations broke out as Israeli forces stormed the camp, "during which live bullets were fired at Palestinian youths", wounding Abu Shalbak in the neck and chest.

The Israeli military said security forces had conducted a six hour-long operation in the camp, apprehending two wanted suspects, questioning others and seizing "inciting material spread by Hamas".

"During the operation, a violent riot developed, in which suspects hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces, who responded with live fire. A hit was identified," it said.

An Israeli border police officer was lightly injured during the exchanges.


The Palestinian foreign ministry said Israeli occupation authorities were making lives of Palestinians in the West Bank "an unbearable hell" with actions including raids, detentions, and movement restrictions, warning of "serious risks" of plunging the West Bank into "violence and anarchy".

Israeli forces also tore up a main road by the Nur Shams refugee camp in the Tulkarm area of the West Bank, witnesses said.

"Every time they enter the camp they destroy more than the previous time," said Ibrahim Hamarsheh, a resident of the camp who heads the Tulkarm branch of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, which advocates for Palestinians in Israeli jails.

He said Israeli forces had also bulldozed roads in the camp.

WAFA also reported that Israeli forces had stormed the city of Nablus, and blew up the home of a man previously accused by Israel of carrying out an attack in which a British-Israeli mother and her two daughters were killed in April in the West Bank.

The man, Moaz al-Masri, was killed by Israeli forces in Nablus last May.

Israeli forces detained at least 55 Palestinians in raids across the West Bank overnight, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.



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