Palestinian killed by IDF during clash, Ramallah says
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Palestinian killed by IDF during clash, Ramallah says

Yahya Yasri Taha, 21, reportedly shot in head during army raid in village northwest of Jerusalem

Illustrative: Palestinians throw stones at Israeli security forces during clashes in the Palestinian town of al-Bireh on the outskirts of Ramallah on November 20, 2015. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)
Illustrative: Palestinians throw stones at Israeli security forces during clashes in the Palestinian town of al-Bireh on the outskirts of Ramallah on November 20, 2015. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)

A Palestinian man was killed during clashes with Israeli forces near the West Bank village of Qataneh, northwest of Jerusalem, early Thursday morning, Palestinian officials said.

Yahya Yasri Taha, 21, was shot in the head by Israeli troops during a skirmish and later died of his wounds, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement.

Though the IDF had heard reports of Taha’s death, it would not yet verify the claim, a spokeswoman said.

The clashes broke out after a large Israeli force entered the village, west of Ramallah, in the middle of the night. The soldiers arrested five suspects and located a weapons cache in the village.

In response, Palestinians from the village began “throwing Molotov cocktails, boulders and rocks at the force,” the spokeswoman said.

The soldiers first attempted to break up the riot with nonlethal means. But when the unit identified a young Palestinian man throwing a firebomb at them, the soldiers used live fire “in response to the imminent threat,” the IDF said.

“A hit was confirmed,” the official added.

“Yahya Taha, 21, from the village of Qataneh… died after he was shot and wounded in the head during clashes,” a Palestinian Health Ministry statement said.

At least five other Palestinians were also reportedly injured in the incident.

A weapons cache found in al-Zawiya by IDF troops during a night-time raid on November 26, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
A weapons cache found in al-Zawiya by IDF troops during a night-time raid on November 26, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The IDF arrested a total of 20 “wanted suspects” — Palestinians accused of ties to terrorist organizations or of having taken part in violent demonstrations — in raids across the West Bank on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, the military said in a statement.

During the searches, the IDF, along with Border Police and Israel Police officers, also found weapons in both Qataneh, where Taha was reportedly killed, and al-Zawiya.

In Qatane, soldiers located ammunition, knives, IDF uniforms and binoculars, the army said.

Meanwhile, soldiers of the IDF’s Kfir Brigade located a rusty M-16 assault rifle, along with ammunition, knives and other equipment, in al-Zawiya, southwest of Qalqilya.

An M-16 assault rifle found in al-Zawiya by IDF troops during a night-time raid on November 26, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
An M-16 assault rifle found in al-Zawiya by IDF troops during a night-time raid on November 26, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The IDF also found a yarmulke in the weapons cache. The Jewish head covering, along with some IDF equipment also found on the scene, could have been used for an “undercover” operation, though the army admitted that those assumptions were still speculative at this stage.

Palestinians say Taha was the hundredth Palestinian killed by Israel in the recent escalation of violence and Palestinian terror that began at the beginning of October. That figure includes Palestinian terrorists shot by Israeli security forces as they carried out attacks.

Over 20 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed by Palestinian assailants since October 1.

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