Ramallah, occupied West Bank – The Israeli army has killed three Palestinian men in a raid on Jenin, the latest people killed in a months-long Israeli campaign of near-daily raids on the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the three dead on Thursday morning as Siqdi Zakarneh, 29, Atta Shalabi, 46, and Tareq al-Damaj, 29.
The ministry announced their deaths around 05:30 (02:30 GMT).
Zakarneh and al-Damaj came from the Jenin refugee camp, while Shalabi came from the town of Qabatya on the southern outskirts of Jenin.
At least two other Palestinian men were wounded by Israeli fire during the raid, including one in serious condition, local journalists told Al Jazeera.
A general strike has been announced in Jenin Governorate to mourn the three men, with schools, businesses and shops closed.
The Israeli army, including special forces, raided Jenin and its refugee camp at dawn on Thursday and arrested several wanted Palestinian resistance fighters, sparking clashes between Israeli troops and armed Palestinian men.
According to local journalist Mujahed al-Saadi, one of the men killed – Sidqi Zakarneh – was a fighter, while Shalabi and al-Damaj were civilians.
Al-Saadi, as well as local media, said Zakarneh was affiliated with the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade – the armed wing of the Fatah political party, but it remains unclear whether Zakarneh was fighting when he was shot.
“Eyewitnesses said that Zakarneh was shot in his car. The people who took him out of the car said they found no weapons on him,” said Al Jazeera producer Ali al-Samoudi, who lives in Jenin.
The second man killed, Atta Shalabi, was driving by with his brother on his way to work when they found Zakarneh murdered in his car.
“Atta tried to help Zakarneh, but as soon as he got closer, the Israeli army shot him,” al-Samoudi said, citing information received from Shalabi’s brother, Mohammad.
Shalabi, according to his brother, was a laborer who worked in Israel. He had a work permit and was on his way to the Jalameh checkpoint in Jenin when he was killed.
The context surrounding the murder of the third man, al-Damaj, remains unclear.
Following the incident, the Israeli military said its forces had been conducting “counter-terrorism” activities near Jenin when its soldiers “were fired at with direct fire and responded with live fire” during an arrest raid.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority (PA) presidency, said in a statement that “the Israeli occupation government is trying to set the region on fire by continuing its crimes against the Palestinian people.” an explosive situation”.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said in a statement that two men were arrested during the raid – Bajes Kayed and Khaled Misbah Abu al-Hayja – both former prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Local media reported that Israeli forces also fired on Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances during the raid. Videos shared online showed the aftermath of their target, with several bullet holes in the windshield and the ambulance.
Four Palestinians killed in less than 24 hours
The killing of the three men comes less than 24 hours after the Israeli army killed a Palestinian man from the town of Silwad on the outskirts of Ramallah in the centrally occupied West Bank.
The man was identified as Mujahed al-Najjar, 32. Residents said Al Jazeera al-Najjar was killed in a shootout with the Israeli army in the nearby village of Deir Dibwan following a manhunt.
Israeli authorities said they believe al-Najjar was behind several shootings in recent days at the Ofra military base, which is built on Silwad land and stands at the entrance.
On Thursday morning, the Israeli army raided Silwad and arrested al-Najjar’s father and brother.
Tensions in the occupied West Bank and Israel have been running high since last year.
Israeli army raids and killings of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have increased and are occurring on an almost daily basis, paralleling an increase in Palestinian armed attacks, as well as an increase in settler attacks on Palestinians.
The raids particularly targeted the occupied cities of Jenin and Nablus in the West Bank, where Palestinian armed resistance is growing.
More than 200 Palestinians, including more than 50 children, have been killed by Israel in the occupied territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip in 2022 – the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.
More than 25 people have already been killed in Israel.