JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli troops on Wednesday shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes that erupted in a refugee camp in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, the latest deadly incident as violence surges in the occupied territory.
The ministry identified the Palestinian as 18-year-old Osama Adawi. He was among the more than 100 Palestinians killed in the West Bank so far in 2022, the worst spasm of violence in seven years.
The Palestinian health ministry said Adawi was struck in the abdomen by a bullet in the Al-Aroub refugee camp in the southern West Bank. The Israeli army said troops opened fire at a group of Palestinians who were hurling rocks at Israeli motorists on Route 60, the territory’s main north-south artery.
Tensions have surged across the West Bank and east Jerusalem as Israeli forces continue to search for Palestinian gunmen who carried out two recent shooting attacks against soldiers. Thousands of Jewish worshippers are also flocking to Jerusalem to mark the weeklong holiday of Sukkot, putting the city on edge.
As night fell Wednesday, clashes erupted in the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem, as Palestinians violently protested the heavy Israeli police presence.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said President Mahmoud Abbas continued “intensive contacts” to deescalate the situation and warned that Israeli provocations “will bring the region to the brink of an explosion.”
In east Jerusalem, Palestinian shops and businesses shut down to protest Israeli police raids in the area that have prompted fierce clashes between police and Palestinian protesters.
Police have been combing Shuafat, a hardscrabble camp for Palestinian refugees on the outskirts of Jerusalem, for a suspect in a deadly shooting attack at a checkpoint on Saturday that killed a soldier. For days, officers have set up checkpoints and deployed groups of armed officers to question residents. The checkpoints have choked off entry and exit points out of the area, disturbing daily life for residents.
The general strike was called to protest the crackdown. Schools and shops closed across east Jerusalem, including in the Old City, whose colorful stores catering to tourists and locals alike are usually abuzz with activity.
“Showing solidarity with Shuafat means more than a day’s income,” said Anan Sabah, a butcher in the Old City. “The camp has been closed and surrounded for days. We are closed to say that’s collective punishment.”
Fueling the tensions are monthslong, nightly raids conducted by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, which began after a spate of attacks against Israelis earlier this year. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the violence, making this year the deadliest since 2015. Most of those killed have been militants, according to Israel, but some local youth protesting the raids as well as civilians have also been killed in the violence.
The raids have sparked a series of shooting attacks in recent weeks against Israelis in the West Bank, including one near the Palestinian city of Nablus Tuesday that killed an Israeli soldier.
The Israeli military said it had closed some roads leading in and out of the city and set up roadblocks in its search for the gunmen. Despite the tensions, it said it would still allow and escort Jewish worshippers to visit a Jewish shrine in Nablus that has been a flashpoint for violence.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future independent state.
Associated Press writer Isabel DeBre in Jerusalem contributed to this report.
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