A Palestinian gunman was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes in a northern West Bank refugee camp early Monday, as the military made preparations for the demolition of the home of the son of a Palestinian terrorist who carried out a deadly shooting attack earlier this year, killing two Israeli brothers.
On February 26, Abdel Fattah Hussein Kharousha, 49, a member of the Hamas terror group, shot and killed Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19, as they drove through Huwara. His sons, Khaled and Muhammed Kharousha, were charged with murder for helping plan the attack.
In the predawn hours of Monday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said troops measured Khaled Kharousha’s home — the first step before its potential demolition — in the West Bank city of Nablus. (Muhammed Kharousha lived with his father, and that home is also slated for demolition.)
The IDF said “the mapping was carried out for the purpose of examining the possibility of demolishing the home, according to decisions that will be made.”
Israeli troops entered the Askar Refugee Camp on the eastern outskirts of Nablus at around 4 a.m., setting off clashes with locals, according to Palestinian media outlets and footage shared online.
The IDF said that during the clashes, armed men opened fire and hurled explosive devices at troops, and other rioters hurled stones and launched fireworks.
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“The forces responded with riot dispersal means and live fire,” the IDF said, adding that at least one suspect was hit.
The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said one man, 22-year-old Saleh Muhammad Saleh Sabreh, was fatally shot in the chest, and a second man was wounded. Palestinian media said the second man was listed in serious condition.
Sabreh was later claimed by a local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group as a member.
The IDF said the gunmen and rioters caused damage to several military vehicles, although no soldiers were hurt.
Footage shared on social media claimed to show Israeli military vehicles moving through the camp. In another video staccatos of heavy gunfire could be heard echoing between buildings.
تغطية صحفية: "صورة الشاب صالح صبرة الذي ارتقى برصاص جيش الاحتلال خلال اقتحام محيط مخيم عسكر شرق نابلس، فجر اليوم". pic.twitter.com/XQiqJyonYD
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Earlier this month, military prosecutors filed an indictment against the sons of the Palestinian terrorist who killed Israeli brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv in the West Bank town of Huwara in February, charging them with helping plan the attack.
Khaled and Muhammed Kharousha, the sons of Hamas member Abdel Fattah Hussein Kharousha, were detained on March 7 during a raid in Nablus. At the same time, their father, who shot the Yaniv brothers dead, was killed in a raid in Jenin.
The IDF said the indictment against the Kharousha sons charged them with intentionally causing death — the military court’s equivalent of murder — and weapons offenses.
The pair helped their father in planning the attack, and carried out intelligence gathering, according to the indictment.
Initially, the sons were supposed to join their father in the attack itself, but in the days before the February 26 shooting, they agreed that the elder Kharousha would carry it out alone, the indictment added.
The pair were being held until the end of legal proceedings.
Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the policy has been hotly debated even within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.
Raids and clashes were also reported in other parts of the West Bank early Monday, but there were no accounts of casualties on either side.
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. An intense eruption of violence with Gaza-based terrorists last week diverted attention from the West Bank while also setting the region even more on edge.
A fragile ceasefire in place since late Saturday appeared to hold Monday morning, amid concerns that another flareup could be around the corner.
On Saturday, two Palestinian gunmen were shot dead as Israeli troops carried out a raid against a terror operative’s hideout apartment in the West Bank city of Nablus. Later that day another Palestinian man was shot dead while trying to stab Border Police officers at a West Bank checkpoint, law enforcement officials said.
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 108 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.
Another 33 Palestinians were killed over five days of fighting with Gaza last week, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reported, but Israel maintains that 21 of them had been targeted terror operatives, and another four were killed by Gazan rocket misfires. Israel admitted to killing 10 civilians during an initial round of strikes against three top commanders early Tuesday.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.