Two Palestinians killed in exchanges of fire during IDF operation near Tulkarem

Israeli soldier moderately hurt as forces conduct counter-terror activity in refugee camp, face gunfire and bombs

The Palestinian city Tulkarem, situated on the western edge of northern West Bank, on July 18, 2018. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
The Palestinian city Tulkarem, situated on the western edge of northern West Bank, on July 18, 2018. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Two Palestinians were killed and an Israeli soldier was moderately hurt early Sunday morning during exchanges of fire near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Palestinians and the military said.

The Israel Defense Forces said it operated against terror infrastructure in the city’s Nur Shams refugee camp, where it destroyed a command center and dozens of explosive devices.

Throughout the activity, gunmen exchanged fire with IDF troops and detonated bombs against them. The army said it fired upon assailants and identified hitting a number of them.

“Two Palestinians were killed by live Israeli bullets to the head,” the Palestinian health ministry said. It identified the two killed as Osaid Abu Ali, 22, and Abd al-Rahman Abu Daghash, 32.

An Israeli soldier was moderately hurt from shrapnel. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The raid caused heavy damage to the camp’s main road, severing water pipes and flooding parts of the street. The ground floor of the targeted building was heavily damaged, while part of the exterior wall of the second floor collapsed.

The army said it had used engineering forces to uncover bombs that had been planted under the pavement.

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

Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank since the beginning of the year have left 27 civilians and three soldiers dead, and several others seriously wounded.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 189 West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians have been killed during the same period — the majority 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.

On Friday, the IDF announced that it was imposing a closure on border crossings between Israel and the West Bank during Yom Kippur that starts Sunday. The various checkpoints will reopen Tuesday morning, following a fresh assessment.

The Erez Crossing with the Gaza Strip has remains closed since September 15 amid near-daily rioting on the Israeli border. The checkpoint will remain shuttered until the Hamas terror group works to curb the violence, according to Israeli officials.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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