Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian militant in the West Bank, saying he threw explosives

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man in the West Bank, Palestinian health officials said, the latest death in a monthslong surge of violence in the occupied territory.

The Israeli military said that soldiers late Friday shot two Palestinians who hurled Molotov cocktails at an army post near the West Bank city of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian authority.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the soldiers killed Muhammad Rumaneh from the hardscrabble Amari refugee camp in Ramallah. The militant group Hamas claimed him as a member.

Health officials did not identify Rumaneh’s age, saying that Israeli authorities were withholding his body.

Israeli officials have suggested in the past that holding onto the bodies of Palestinians slain in security incidents can deter attacks and prevent the exaltation of assailants at funerals that often draw giant crowds of protesters.

In lieu of a funeral, residents of Ramallah called for a general strike Saturday to pay tribute to Rumaneh. Student groups at the prominent Birzeit University near Ramallah called off Sunday classes.

The incident was the latest in a spiral of violence that has gripped the occupied territory for more than 1 1/2 year. The Israeli military has mounted near-nightly raids into Palestinian towns, often prompting deadly clashes with residents. Militancy has surged among young Palestinians who have lost hope in their leadership and in the prospect of a political resolution to the conflict.

Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire so far this year in the West Bank, according to a tally by The Associated Press — the highest death toll in years. Israel says most of those killed have been militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting incursions as well as innocent bystanders have also been killed.

Palestinian attacks against Israelis have killed more than 30 people since the start of 2023.

Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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