Palestinian teen, 14, killed in clashes with IDF; 19 arrested in West Bank

Military says suspects hurl explosives, stones, firebombs at troops in Dheisheh refugee camp; gunmen also open fire at forces in Qabatiya and Nablus

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

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, early January 16, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, early January 16, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

A 14-year-old Palestinian was killed during clashes with Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Bethlehem early Monday, the military and Palestinian health officials said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops entered the Dheisheh refugee camp to arrest wanted Palestinians amid a months-long anti-terror effort, mostly in the northern West Bank, following a series of terror attacks that killed 31 people in 2022.

“Suspects threw stones, explosives, and Molotov cocktails at the forces, who responded with riot dispersal means and live fire,” the IDF said in a statement.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry said a 14-year-old boy was hit in the head by the gunfire, and described his condition as critical. The ministry later said he had died, and named him as Omar Lutfi Khamour.

The army did not say if any suspects were arrested in the camp, but Palestinian media said at least one person was detained.

The IDF said 19 Palestinians were arrested elsewhere across the West Bank, with some violent incidents.

In Qabatiya, near Jenin in the northern West Bank, the IDF said troops came under fire while arresting two wanted Palestinians. “The troops fired at gunmen who fired at them,” the military said, adding that suspects were hit.

Troops also came under fire in Nablus during the arrest of another two suspects, the IDF said.

In Hebron, troops detained a wanted Palestinian and seized an M16 assault rifle, the army added.

An M16 rifle seized by IDF troops in the West Bank city of Hebron, early January 16, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF said the 19 Palestinians who were arrested in the West Bank over suspected terror activities were taken to be questioned by the Shin Bet security agency.

No Israeli soldiers were hurt in the overnight raids, the IDF said.

The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 14 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.

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