Palestinian death toll rises as Israel continues operation for fourth day

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A Palestinian child stands in front of burning tires in the refugee camp of Jenin in the occupied West Bank after an Israeli military raid on April 12, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
JENIN, Palestinian Territories — Israeli forces in the Mediterranean port city of Ashkelon shot dead a Palestinian man in his 40s after he allegedly “pulled out a knife and attacked” an Israeli officer. In the northern West Bank city of Jenin, violence between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians continued as Israel carried out military operations for a fourth day.اضافة اعلان

According to Israeli forces, the man killed in Ashkelon was from Hebron — a powder keg city in the Palestinian West Bank where around 1,000 Jewish settlers live under heavy military protection among more than 200,000 Palestinians.

Al-Jazeera News’ Nida Ibrahim reported that “The Palestinians are saying that the man did not pose any threat and that the Israeli police were acting in a very violent way.”

Israeli police stated that the policeman “fired and neutralized the suspect, whose death was declared on-site”, adding that the officer was hospitalized with light wounds from a kitchen knife.

Military operations are being carried out around Jenin after an assailant from the area last week shot and killed three people in a Tel Aviv bar in the latest attacks on Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett — who warned in response that there would “not be limits for this war” — vowed during a visit to the Tel Aviv shooting scene overnight: “We will not let our enemy stop our lives. … We will fight where they are located, in their bases, at their source…”.

In Tuesday’s battles, Israeli forces “fired live bullets, stun grenades and tear gas,” the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

Palestinian youth also clashed elsewhere with Israeli forces, including in Ramallah, where they threw rocks and were met with tear gas. Israeli forces have stepped up operations over the past three weeks in which four shooting, stabbing and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians have left 14 Israelis dead.

Over the same period, Israeli forces have killed 15 Palestinians, including assailants, according to an AFP tally.

Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh charged that Israel’s actions “will lead to a dangerous and uncontrollable escalation” and cause a new “cycle of violence”.

Militant group Islamic Jihad, meanwhile, hailed the Palestinian response to Israel’s military incursions in Jenin and other cities.

“We salute our people who stand like an unyielding barricade in the face of the Zionist enemy’s terrorism,” it said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres followed “with deep concern the escalating violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel,” said his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

“He is appalled by the increasingly high number of casualties, including women and children,” Dujarric added.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited an area Tuesday where a barrier that runs along the West Bank border is to be extended by 40km in coming months under a plan approved Sunday. More Israeli military presence will also be reinforced, said the Israeli army.

Israel started building the more than 500km barrier, which is part concrete wall and part fence, 20 years ago. Palestinians say the barrier’s construction effectively confiscated nearly 10 percent of West Bank territory, and the International Court of Justice has ruled it illegal.

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