A Palestinian teenager who allegedly hurled stones at passing Israeli motorists in the central West Bank was shot dead by Israeli troops on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The fatality marked the fifth Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in raids or attacks in the previous 24 hours, adding to a death toll that has risen significantly during a months-long anti-terror offensive in the West Bank.
The Israel Defense Forces said several suspects had been hurling rocks and containers of paint at Israeli cars driving on Route 465 near the village of Aboud, northwest of Ramallah.
“IDF soldiers conducting routine activity in the area… shot at the suspects,” the military said, adding that “targets were hit.”
The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said 16-year-old Diaa Muhammad Shafiq al-Rimawi was killed. His body was taken by the Israeli army, it said.
The ministry said a second Palestinian was seriously hurt in the incident and taken by Israeli soldiers to a hospital in Israel, while another three were in stable condition at a hospital in Ramallah.
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A military official confirmed that the suspect’s body was being held by Israel and that a second person had been transported to a hospital with serious injuries.
The IDF said the suspects “endangered the lives of passersby.” There were no immediate reports of Israelis hurt, or cars damaged, in stone-throwing incidents in the area.
The incident came hours after Israeli troops killed three gunmen during an early Thursday morning raid in the city of Jenin.
On Wednesday afternoon, a gunman who opened fire on a military post in the central West Bank was also shot and killed.
Tensions have been high in the West Bank over the past year, with the IDF conducting an ongoing major anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 31 people in Israel and the West Bank dead since the start of the year.
The operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids, but has also left at least 165 Palestinians dead, many of them — but not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.
Many of the deadly clashes have occurred in the Jenin and Nablus area, where the Israeli forces have repeatedly conducted arrest operations.
In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have also repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
The IDF says it has recorded around 300 shooting attacks and attempts against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the West Bank this year, compared to just 91 last year.