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    Israeli army kills two Palestinians in West Bank confrontation

    RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (AP) – Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, including a man claimed by an armed group as a member, during a confrontation that erupted early yesterday when troops entered a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials said.

    The two men were killed in the village of Kafr Dan near the northern city of Jenin. The Israeli military said it entered Kafr Dan late on Sunday to demolish the houses of two Palestinian gunmen who killed an Israeli soldier during a firefight in September. The military said troops came under heavy fire and fired back at the shooters.

    The Palestinian Health Ministry identified those killed as Samer Houshiyeh, 21, and Fouad Abed, 25.

    Houshiyeh was shot several times in the chest, according to director of the Ibn Sina Hosipital in Jenin Samer Attiyeh.

    An armed group, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, later claimed Houshiyeh as a member. The group, an offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, published an older photo in which Houshiyeh had posed with rifles.

    Journalists and bystanders watch as Israeli soldiers enter the Palestinian village of Kafr Dan in Jenin. PHOTO: AFP

    Video on social media showed his body wrapped with the armed group’s flag as his mother and other mourners bid farewell.

    It was not immediately clear whether the second Palestinian killed was also affiliated with a militant group.

    Israel says it demolishes the homes of militants as a way to deter potential attackers. Critics say the tactic amounts to collective punishment.

    The year 2022 was the deadliest in the West Bank and east Jerusalem since 2006.

    The Israeli military has been conducting near-daily raids into Palestinian cities and towns since a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 19 last spring.

    More than 150 Palestinians were killed last year.

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