JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military said Wednesday that troops killed a Palestinian after he threw a firebomb at them during clashes that erupted as they carried out an overnight arrest raid in the West Bank.
Israel has carried out nightly arrest raids across the occupied territory as part of a monthslong campaign that it says is aimed at dismantling militant groups following a string of deadly attacks earlier this year that killed 19 people.
The military said Wednesday that its soldiers came under fire during the arrest of a wanted person in the Faraa refugee camp in the northern West Bank. The Palestinian Health Ministry said 21-year-old Younis Ghassan Tayeh died from a bullet wound to the chest.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group issued a statement claiming Tayeh as one of “our martyrs” but did not say whether he was a fighter. Israel and Western countries view Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organization because it has carried out scores of deadly attacks targeting Israeli civilians.
Tayeh’s twin brother, Hussein, said Tayeh woke him up at 5 a.m. and told him there were Israeli troops in the neighborhood. Hussein said he told his brother to stay inside but he refused, and in the end both of them went out.
Hussein said both of them were unarmed. He said his brother supported Islamic Jihad but that he did not know if Tayeh was a member. Palestinian armed groups have been known to adopt people as members after they are killed by Israeli fire.
Dozens of Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli raids, many of them militants or people involved in clashes. But some civilians have also been killed, including one who inadvertently drove through a battle zone.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Al Jazeera journalist, was shot dead while covering one of the raids in May.
Israel on Monday said its investigation into her death found there was a “high probability” an Israeli soldier had mistakenly killed her. She had been wearing a helmet and a vest that clearly marked her as a member of the media, and video footage showed no militants or clashes in the immediate area when she was killed.
Israel says the raids are needed to combat militants and protect its citizens. The Palestinians say the operations are aimed at maintaining Israel’s 55-year military occupation of territories they want for an independent state.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.
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