Palestinian teen killed in clashes with IDF near Jenin; 32 nabbed in overnight raids

IDF says troops opened fire at suspects hurling explosives in Zababdeh, a town in northern West Bank; Islamic Jihad claims 17-year-old Uthman Abu Kharj as member

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

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, early August 22, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, early August 22, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

A Palestinian teenager, claimed as a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, was killed by Israeli soldiers during clashes in a town near the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday morning, Palestinian health officials said.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry said 17-year-old Uthman Atef Muhhamed Abu Kharj was fatally shot in the head by Israeli forces in Zababdeh, a town south of Jenin.

The Israel Defense Forces said that Palestinians hurled explosive devices at troops in the town. The soldiers returned fire, hitting at least one suspect, the IDF said.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad later claimed Abu Kharj as a member and a “fighter” in the terror group’s local wing in the Jenin area.

The IDF said Tuesday morning that troops detained 32 wanted Palestinians during raids across the West Bank overnight, including two who are suspected of carrying out a deadly terror attack near Hebron a day earlier.

There were clashes elsewhere during the IDF’s overnight arrest operations, including in the town of Azzun and the villages of Abwein and Silat al-Harithiya, the military said.

The deadly clashes come a day after a seemingly unarmed Palestinian man was critically wounded after being shot in the back of the head by Israeli forces in the northern West Bank town of Beita, south of Nablus.

In a graphic video circulated by Palestinian media outlets, the man was seen being shot while walking away from members of Yamas — the Border Police’s elite undercover counterterrorism unit — and toward another Palestinian wounded by Israeli forces.

Palestinian media reports claimed that the man, named as Ameed al-Jaghoub, had died of his wounds, but the Palestinian Authority health ministry said his condition was critical.

Violence has surged across the West Bank over the past year and a half, with a rise in Palestinian shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and troops, near-nightly arrest raids by the military, and an uptick in revenge attacks by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

A string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank this year have left 29 people dead and several others seriously wounded, including an Israeli woman killed near Hebron on Monday, and an Israeli father and son in Huwara on Saturday.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 174 West Bank Palestinians have also been killed during the same period — most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances, including by armed Israeli settlers.

The IDF also bolstered the West Bank with an additional infantry battalion and two companies, following the two recent deadly terror attacks in Hebron and Huwara.

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