A 22-year-old man wounded in clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday night succumbed to his wounds, Palestinian health officials said Wednesday.
According to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry, Muhammed Abu Kishk was shot and seriously hurt during the clash, and later died of his wounds. Israeli troops had entered the West Bank city to secure a visit of Jewish worshipers to Joseph’s Tomb on the outskirts of Nablus.
A Palestinian teenager was also killed during the clash. The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said Tuesday night that 16-year-old Ahmed Shehadeh was shot in the chest during the clashes, and died at a hospital in the city.
Thousand of mourners turned out for Shehadeh’s funeral ceremony through the streets of Nablus on Wednesday.
The shrine, regarded by some as the final resting place of the biblical patriarch Joseph, is located inside Area A of the West Bank, which is officially under complete PA control, though the Israeli military regularly enters, despite Palestinian opposition.
A local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Nablus-based Lion’s Den terror groups claimed responsibility for shooting and hurling explosives at the troops escorting the group of Israelis to Joseph’s Tomb on the outskirts of Nablus.
In videos circulated on social media, heavy gunfire could be heard across the West Bank city. Another clip showed Palestinians hurling stones at security forces.
The Israel Defense Forces bars Israeli citizens from entering Area A without prior authorization, and some criticize the monthly incursions as an unnecessary provocation that places Israeli soldiers at risk.
Visits to the tomb by Orthodox Israelis take place on a monthly basis, if not more frequently, and almost always spark violent clashes with Palestinian locals when the IDF enters Nablus beforehand to secure the area for the arrival of the hardline pilgrims.
In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted troops operating in the West Bank, as well as military posts, soldiers operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
Separately on Wednesday, the PA Health Ministry said a man wounded during a clash with IDF troops in July had died.
According to Palestinian media reports, 30-year-old Muhammad Harzallah was a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terror group. The clash on July 24 occurred as Israeli troops entered Nablus to conduct arrests.
In the spring, the military launched a major anti-terror offensive in West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 30 people in Israel and the West Bank dead since the start of the year.
The operation has netted more than 2,000 arrests in near-nightly raids, and has left around 150 Palestinians dead, many of them — though not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.