NABLUS: Israeli forces shot a Palestinian fighter who later died of his wounds in the West Bank Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry said, as the army reported coming under fire during an operation.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the armed wing of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement, claimed the dead man as one of its members.
In a statement, the health ministry said “Ahmed Amer Salim Abu Junaid, 21, succumbed to critical wounds, after he was shot in the head by the occupation, this morning, in Balata refugee camp in Nablus.”
Clashes erupted early on Wednesday when troops entered the camp, the army said.
“Several suspects fired at the (Israeli) forces who responded back with live fire,” the statement said, indicating that one person was struck.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade said in a statement that it “mourns its martyr” after Abu Junaid was killed in a “confrontation with the Zionist enemy army.”
The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported that undercover Israeli forces had “infiltrated the camp and surrounded a house”. It added that Israeli troops fired “live bullets, stun grenades and tear gas”.
Abu Junaid was initially transferred to Nablus’s Rafidia hospital before succumbing to his wounds several hours later, Wafa said.
He is the fifth Palestinian martyred by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the start of the year.
The inauguration in late December of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, has sparked fears of a military escalation in the West Bank which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War.
Two of Netanyahu’s extreme-right coalition partners, who have a history of inflammatory remarks about Palestinians, have taken charge of critical powers regarding the West Bank.
Last week, Israeli forces martyred Amer Abu Zeitoun, 16, during another operation in Nablus. Armed clashes had erupted between militants and Israeli forces, both sides said.
Last year was the deadliest in the West Bank since United Nations records began in 2005, with more than 150 Palestinians killed, the world body said in December.