Israeli forces have killed four Palestinians in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank and the occupied East Jerusalem.
The violence on Thursday flared as Israel tallies the final votes in national elections held this week, with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expected to lead a comfortable majority backed by far-right allies.
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The Palestinian Ministry of Health said a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank. He was identified as Daoud Mahmoud Khalil Rayan, 42, from Beit Duqqu, in the West Bank.
The Israeli police said paramilitary border guards raided the home of a Palestinian who they claim slammed his car into an Israeli soldier on Wednesday. Police said the guards faced a protest there, with demonstrators throwing stones and firebombs at the forces. They then opened fire on the thrower of the firebomb.
In a separate incident on Thursday, a Palestinian allegedly stabbed a police officer in Jerusalem’s Old City, police said, and officers opened fire, killing the man. The officer was lightly wounded.
Meanwhile, two Palestinians were killed during Israeli army raids in Jenin, including an Islamic Jihad fighter.
The violence came as a political shift is under way in Israel after national elections, with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likely to return to power in a coalition government made up of far-right allies, including the extreme far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, who in response to the incidents said Israel would soon take a tougher approach to attackers.
“The time has come to restore security to the streets,” he tweeted. “The time has come for a terrorist who goes out to carry out an attack to be taken out!”
The incidents were the latest in a wave of violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that has killed more than 130 Palestinians this year, making 2022 the deadliest since 2015.
Near daily raids have been conducted by Israeli forces in the West Bank, with Palestinian fighters responding to the incursions by attacking Israeli soldiers.
The raids have been part of an Israeli operation called “Break the Wave”, which is an attempt to stop the emergence of new Palestinian resistance groups in the West Bank.
The incursions have been met in recent weeks by a rise in attacks against Israelis, killing at least three.
Also on Thursday, Israel said, it was removing checkpoints in and out of the city of Nablus. Israel had imposed the restrictions weeks ago, clamping down on the city in response to a new militant group known as the Lions’ Den. The military has conducted repeated operations in the city in recent weeks, killing or arresting the group’s top commanders.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war, and has since maintained an illegal military occupation over the territory and settled more than 500,000 people there. The Palestinians want the territory, along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem, for their hoped-for independent state.