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Israeli forces kill two in West Bank raids

AP – Israeli troops operating in the West Bank shot and killed two Palestinians, the Palestinian Health Ministry said yesterday, in the latest escalation of violence between the sides amid intensifying Israeli raids in the occupied territory.

The two deaths come a day after three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops, who have been patrolling the West Bank and making arrests following an outburst of attacks in Israel that has killed 14 people in recent weeks.

At least 23 Palestinians have been killed in the latest wave of violence, according to a count by The Associated Press, most after carrying out deadly attacks or in clashes with Israeli security forces. Others include an unarmed middle-aged woman and a lawyer who appeared to have been caught in the violence accidentally.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said two men died of their injuries following confrontations with Israeli forces in the volatile city of Jenin. The Israeli military said dozens of Palestinians attacked the forces, opening fire and shooting explosives at them. The troops responded with live fire, the military said, without commenting on the deaths.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces shot and killed three Palestinians, including a 14-year-old and a 34-year-old lawyer who officials said happened to inadvertently drive into a battle zone in the northern West Bank town of Beita.

Palestinian political factions in the city of Ramallah, the Palestinian administrative centre, called a general strike yesterday to protest the Israeli operation and the rising Palestinian death toll.

Stores and schools as well as other private and public institutions were shuttered for the day.

An Israeli soldier guards an opening in Israel’s West Bank separation barrier. PHOTO: AP