Israeli troops opened fire and killed an unarmed Palestinian man attempting to cross the security fence into central Israel on Sunday afternoon, the army said.
The Palestinian Authority health ministry confirmed the death of the man, identifying him as Mahmoud Sami Khalil Aram. Health officials called him a “young man,” but did not immediately give his age.
According to the military, Aram sought to cross the security barrier illegally near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank.
“The troops shot toward him in accordance with the arrest procedure. The suspect was evacuated for medical treatment,” the army said.
Under the rules of engagement, Israeli soldiers are allowed to open fire in order to arrest suspects. An Israeli army later spokesperson confirmed Aram was unarmed.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians are estimated to cross the security barrier illegally to work in Israel. In recent weeks, several terrorists have also exploited gaps in the fence to arrive in Israeli cities and commit attacks.
Israelis have seen one of the deadliest terror waves in recent years over the past few weeks. Nineteen people have been killed in a series of attacks since March 22, most of them in central Israeli cities.
Israeli security forces subsequently stepped up their activities in the West Bank. Since April, Israeli raids have led to the deaths of at least 27 Palestinians. While many appear to have been involved in hostilities, others were reportedly unarmed civilians.
The first section of the West Bank barrier was built in 2003, when Israel faced a wave of brutal terror attacks. It was immediately subject to court challenges by human rights groups.
Israeli security officials have vowed to fix the holes in the barrier. The upgrade will cost hundreds of millions of shekels and could face court challenges, depending on the route of the unfinished sections.
Other Israeli officials have argued that allowing tens of thousands of Palestinians to work illegally in Israel helps keep the rickety West Bank economy afloat and maintains stability in the area.