Palestinian shot dead in clash with Israeli troops near Bethlehem

Military spokesperson says suspect hurled firebomb at soldiers near Husan village in central West Bank; 6th Palestinian dies of wounds sustained in Jenin battle

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

Palestinians hurl firebombs at an IDF jeep in the West Bank village of Husan, June 20, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)
Palestinians hurl firebombs at an IDF jeep in the West Bank village of Husan, June 20, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)

A young Palestinian man was shot dead after hurling a Molotov cocktail at Israeli troops during clashes near the central West Bank city of Bethlehem late Monday, the military and Palestinian health officials said.

The incident came at the tail-end of a particularly violent day in the West Bank: the morning saw six Palestinians shot dead and eight Israeli soldiers wounded in a battle in Jenin in the morning, and in the evening two more soldiers were wounded in an alleged car-ramming attack west of Jenin, with two Palestinian suspects shot and wounded.

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, Zakaria Za’oul, 20, was fatally shot by Israeli troops in the village of Husan on Monday night.

Local authorities told the official Palestinian WAFA news agency that clashes had erupted at the eastern entrance to the town. Israeli troops opened fire and launched tear gas grenades, Palestinians said.

According to WAFA, another two young Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the clashes.

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces told The Times of Israel on Tuesday morning that a suspect had hurled a Molotov cocktail at soldiers securing a nearby highway.

“The forces responded with live fire,” the spokesperson said, adding that the suspect was hit.

Footage published by Palestinian media outlets showed Palestinians hurling Molotov cocktails at an army jeep. Another clip showed a number of Palestinians gathering in the street as several fires burned.

No Israeli soldiers were hurt in the clashes.

Meanwhile, Palestinian media reported Tuesday morning that a sixth person had died as a result of the clashes in Jenin a day earlier. Amjad Aref al-Jaas, 48, died at the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, medical sources told WAFA.

Nearly 100 were wounded in the Jenin clashes, including 22 listed in serious and critical condition.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the military carrying out 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 20 people and left several more seriously hurt.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 124 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances.

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