Two Palestinians die of wounds sustained in West Bank shootouts with IDF

Clash in Qabatiya on Wednesday also saw two Islamic Jihad gunmen killed; soldier lightly hurt in incident early Thursday

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, early May 11, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, early May 11, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Two Palestinian men died on Thursday afternoon from wounds sustained during exchanges of fire between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers.

One was 30-year-old Aws Kmeil, who was shot amid clashes with the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Qabatiya, south of Jenin, on Wednesday, Palestinian health officials said.

The shootout on Wednesday left two other Palestinians dead, who were claimed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as members.

The Israel Defense Forces said that during an arrest operation in the city, gunmen opened fire at troops from a passing vehicle.

“The troops responded by firing at the two terrorists, killing them,” the IDF said, adding that troops seized an assault rifle and handgun from the car.

It was unclear if Kmeil was directly involved in the clash.

The other was Ghazi Yousef Mustafa Shehab, 66, wounded during a shootout in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, on Thursday morning. An IDF soldier was lightly hurt in that incident.

It was also unclear whether Shehab was involved in the firefight.

The IDF said troops entered the camp to arrest wanted Palestinians in the morning. It added that the forces seized a makeshift firearm and other military equipment, before coming under fire.

The wounded soldier was taken to a hospital for further treatment.

According to the IDF, 15 wanted Palestinians were detained during overnight raids across the West Bank. They were handed over to the Shin Bet security agency for further questioning.

On Wednesday, a soldier was seriously hurt in a shootout with Palestinians in the northern West Bank city of Tubas, near Nablus. She remained hospitalized on Thursday, with medical officials saying her condition was stable after being hit by shrapnel to her head.

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, early May 10, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 19 people and left several more seriously hurt. At least 104 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

The raids early on Thursday came as tensions were high, two days after Israel launched an offensive against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in the Gaza Strip.

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