Palestinian killed as Israeli forces continue West Bank crackdown

Thirty-one Palestinians injured in Nablus in clashes with troops at site of tomb

With tensions high following four deadly attacks in Israel over the last few weeks, Israeli forces are carrying out daily raids against militant strongholds across the occupied West Bank.

On Wednesday, a Palestinian was killed as Israeli troops entered the West Bank city of Nablus in a rare daytime incursion. The soldiers reached the site believed by Jews to be the tomb of the biblical Joseph, which had been badly damaged by Palestinian rioters.

The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said 31 Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli forces who remained in the area while the damage to the tomb was repaired.

The head of the Jewish settlers’ council in the area said only Israel could ensure security at the tomb and he called on the government to permit a yeshiva Jewish religious seminary to be established at the site.


The Israeli raids have become a daily occurrence across Palestinian areas of the West Bank since last week’s shooting in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian from the Jenin refugee camp left three Israelis dead.

Following the Tel Aviv attack, the fourth attack in a few weeks that have seen the loss of 14 Israeli lives, Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett said he was giving “full freedom of action to the army and security forces to stamp out terrorism”.

State of emergency

The Palestinian Red Crescent declared a state of emergency this week amid the spike in violence in the West Bank and the deaths of a number of Palestinians.

The tension is expected to reach its peak this weekend, when the second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincides with the start of the eight-day Jewish festival of Passover.

Tensions are particularly high in Jerusalem and cities with mixed populations in the region.

Both Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip have remained relatively quiet to date, but Israel is concerned that militants in Gaza may launch rockets into Israel if a large number of Palestinians are killed during the West Bank crackdown.

Despite the violence, Israel is continuing to allow tens of thousands of Palestinians to cross each day to work inside Israel, fearing that imposing a closure would only increase the tension.

Hamas and other groups reacted angrily after an extremist Jewish group, the Temple Mount Faithful, offered a cash prize for anyone who succeeds in performing a ritual Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, revered by Muslims as the Haram al Sharif.

Police have also directed hotels across Israel to increase security amid concerns that militant groups may try to carry out a repeat of the 2002 attack that killed 30 and wounded 140 guests celebrating the traditional Passover Seder meal at a Netanya hotel.