Three Palestinians Killed in West Bank Military Raids and Settler Rampage

REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
Palestinians inspect a car targeted by Israeli forces during a raid where they killed a Palestinian militant, near Tubas, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank April 12, 2024.

RAMALLAH (Reuters) – Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians, including a member of the armed wing of Hamas, in raids in the occupied West Bank on Friday and the Palestinian Health Ministry reported at least one person was killed in an Israeli settler rampage near Ramallah.

The Israeli military said Mohammad Omar Daraghmeh, whom it described as the head of Hamas infrastructure in the Tubas area of the Jordan valley was killed during an exchange of fire with security forces. It said a number of weapons and military-style equipment, including automatic rifles were found in his vehicle.

Hamas confirmed Daraghmeh’s death and his membership of its armed Al Qassam Brigades.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said another man was killed by Israeli forces conducting a raid in the Al-Far’a refugee camp in Tubas. Hamas mourned the man’s death but did not claim him as a member.

The military said forces carrying out the operation opened fire on Palestinians who threw explosive devices and killed one man it said was attempting to attack them.

Israel has stepped up military raids in the West Bank since launching an unrelenting assault on Gaza following a Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack on its southern communities and military bases.

Later on Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said one person was shot dead in al-Mughayyer near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah as residents reported of dozens of Jewish settlers rampaging through their village. It was not immediately clear whether he was shot by Israeli forces or settlers.

The Palestine Red Crescent said at least 10 people were wounded, most of them by live fire, and that some ambulances trying to reach the area were shot at.

The head of al-Mughayyer’s local council, Ameen Abu Alia, said settlers had previously attacked the village but Friday’s raid was the most intense, with some 400 armed settlers, backed by military forces, firing at residents, vandalizing the village and setting several houses and cars ablaze.

He said they were still assessing the damage when the Israeli military put the village under strict closure, placing a checkpoint at its only entrance.

In unverified videos circulating on social media, gunshots could be heard and heavy smoke was seen rising from a car set ablaze as residents called for help.

The Israeli military said it forces put up roadblocks and launched a search for a 14-year-old who had gone missing in the area, who police described as a Jewish resident of Jerusalem.

During the searches, security forces took action to disperse violent riots in the area, the military said, adding that rocks were hurled at soldiers who responded with fire and that “hits were identified.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, condemned Friday’s settler attack and demanded urgent international intervention, particularly by the United States.

Since the start of the Gaza war, Palestinian Health Ministry records show at least 460 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers, among them armed fighters from militant groups.

In the same period, at least 13 Israelis, among them two members of Israeli forces, have been killed by Palestinians in the West Bank, according to an Israeli tally.