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Israel says it killed two Palestinian militants in the West Bank

By Thomson Reuters Jun 21, 2024 | 8:37 AM

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian gunmen in an exchange of fire during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank on Friday, Israel police said.

The two men belonged to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group and opened fire at the Israeli forces during an attempt to arrest them in the town of Qalqilia, the police statement said.

“Handguns were found on the two terrorists. One of the neutralized terrorists was planning to carry out an attack in the area,” the statement said.

Islamic Jihad did not immediately claim the two men as members.

Videos circulating on social media, which Reuters couldn’t immediately verify, showed Israeli forces surrounding a crashed car and one security force member pulling the body of a man from the vehicle onto the ground.

The Palestinian official news agency WAFA said Israeli forces prevented local medics from reaching the car and then took away the bodies.

Palestinian health officials confirmed the deaths of the two men.

Violence in the West Bank, already on the rise before the war in Gaza, has escalated further, with stepped-up Israeli military raids, settler violence and Palestinian street attacks.

Around 550 people, including many militants and some civilian bystanders, have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the Gaza war erupted on Oct. 7.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell; editing by Christina Fincher)