Confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli army

KJust before midnight, the two men were picked up by a reconnaissance unit north of the West Bank discovered. According to the Israeli army, they were crouching near the barrier between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Squads of soldiers then approached the suspects from two directions. When they were only a few meters away at around 2 a.m., the two Palestinians suddenly began shooting at the soldiers; these returned fire.

Christian Meier

Political correspondent for the Middle East and Northeast Africa.

The 30-year-old deputy commander of a reconnaissance unit was killed in the exchange of fire, as were the two 22- and 23-year-old Palestinians, who came from a nearby village near the city of Jenin. It was only on Tuesday that an army vehicle was shot at in the same place. The "Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades," which are close to the Fatah party, claimed responsibility for both attacks. It was unclear on Wednesday why the soldiers had come so close to the Palestinians, although it was unclear whether they were armed or not.

Israel fears an escalation

The deadly confrontation is one of many. The number and intensity of the clashes between the army and Palestinians in the West Bank have been increasing for months. In the current year, around 83 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces or by settlers. That's the highest number in a year since 2015. While the army says in most cases those killed were involved in combat or attacked soldiers, others said several were bystanders. Another 35 Palestinians were killed by Israeli attacks during the exchange of blows with "Palestinian Islamic Jihad" in the Gaza Strip in early August.

At the same time, around a dozen mostly Israeli civilians and security forces have been killed by Palestinians from the West Bank so far in 2022. Most of these terrorist attacks took place in Israel in the spring. The army then increased surveillance of the border fence, which had become permeable in many places. In addition, military operations were intensified, especially in the north of the West Bank.

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