Two Palestinians reported killed in separate overnight West Bank clashes

Violence erupts in Nablus’s Balata refugee camp and al-Bireh near Ramallah, after troops enter to make arrests, seize cash allegedly used for terror activities

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

Israeli soldiers operate in the West Bank, September 1, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli soldiers operate in the West Bank, September 1, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Two Palestinians were killed early Thursday in separate clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank, local media reports said.

In Nablus’s Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank, armed clashes erupted after Israeli troops entered to arrest a wanted individual. “The troops responded by firing after shots were fired at them,” the military said.

A Palestinian man, identified as Samer Khaled, 25, from the nearby Ein Beit al-Ma’ refugee camp, was shot in the neck and later died, Palestinian media reports said.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, Palestinian security officials notified their Israeli counterparts that Khaled was killed by Palestinian gunfire, and not by Israeli troops. Other Hebrew-language media reports suggested Khaled’s death occurred after troops had left the area.

Separately, reports said a second Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes in the city of al-Bireh near Ramallah.

He was identified as Yazan Afaneh, 26, from the nearby Qalandiya refugee camp, north of Jerusalem.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops had entered to seize money suspected to have been intended for terror purposes.

The IDF said Palestinians hurled stones and Molotov cocktails during the operation in al-Bireh, and troops responded with “riot dispersal means.” The IDF added that it was “aware” of reports of a Palestinian being shot dead amid the incidents.

Footage circulated online showed Khaled’s and Afaneh’s bodies being brought to hospitals.

In other areas of the West Bank, troops detained another five suspects and seized several firearms, the IDF said. The six men were taken to the Shin Bet security agency for further questioning.

Tensions have escalated in the West Bank recently, with Israeli security forces stepping up arrest raids and operations following a deadly wave of terror attacks that left 19 people dead earlier this year.

Early Wednesday, Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians linked to shooting attacks near a settlement, along with six other suspects during raids across the West Bank.

At least 85 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far this year, according to a tally from the Palestinian Authority health ministry. It included Palestinians who carried out attacks inside Israel, as well as several civilians, including a veteran journalist who apparently drove unwittingly into a battle zone, and teens who violently protested in response to Israel’s military operations in their neighborhoods.

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