Palestinian killed in Israeli military raid in West Bank
Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian militant during a raid in the northern West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian health officials said, the latest escalation of violence in what has been the deadliest start of a year for Palestinians in the occupied territory in more than two decades.
Israeli forces stormed into the northern city of Tulkarem, home to an emerging militant group with ties to the armed offshoot of the nationalist Fatah party. The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 25-year-old Amir Abu Khadija was shot multiple times in the head and legs. The Tulkarem branch of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs; Brigades claimed Abu Khadija as its leader.
The Israeli military said Abu Khadija was wanted for recent shooting attacks on Israeli settlements and security forces. Troops raided his hideout apartment in Tulkarem and shot and killed Abu Khadija when he drew his gun, the military said, adding that the army confiscated an M-16 assault rifle and the car he allegedly used to carry out drive-by shooting attacks. Security forces said they also arrested another member of the militant group.
The militant group said Abu Khadija died in an "armed clash" with Israeli forces. Images of his blood-soaked body and his trashed apartment circulated online, as angry Palestinians mourned what they described as the first "martyr" of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began Thursday in the Mideast.