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Six Palestinians killed, dozens shot in Israel West Bank raid

#Palestinians #killed #dozens #shot #Israel #West #Bank #raid

Six Palestinians were killed and dozens shot in a raid by the Israeli military Wednesday on the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Six men aged 23 to 72 were killed “as a result of the occupation’s aggression on Nablus,” the ministry said in a statement.

Around 50 people were hospitalised with gunshot wounds, health officials added.

The Israeli military confirmed its forces were operating in the northern West Bank city, but when contacted by AFP a spokesperson was unable to provide further details.

An AFP journalist saw Israeli forces fire tear gas at Palestinians, who burned tyres and threw stones at military vehicles.

Troops withdrew from the city after three hours, the journalist said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said its medics had treated 45 gunshot wounds and 250 cases of tear gas inhalation.

The last major Israeli raid on Nablus killed five Palestinians, as troops targeted local militant group the Lions’ Den.

In a message posted on Telegram on Wednesday, the group said its fighters were involved in a “battle of honour” against Israeli forces.

– ‘Ominous signs’ –

The latest deadly Israeli incursion follows an appeal by United Nations Middle East peace envoy, Tor Wennesland, for the violence to be halted as an “urgent priority”.

“We have seen ominous signs of what awaits if we fail to address the current instability,” he told the UN Security Council on Monday.

Since the start of this year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 55 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians.

Nine Israeli civilians, including three children, one Ukrainian civilian and a police officer have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official sources from both sides.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and separately with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, calling on the two leaders to “restore calm”.

Last month’s visit by Washington’s top envoy to Israel and the Palestinian territories has been followed by further rifts between officials and violence.

Blinken’s phone calls followed a decision by Israel’s new hard-right government to give retroactive permission to multiple settlement outposts in the West Bank — a move that drew nearly unanimous criticism among major powers.

Israel has occupied the Palestinian territory since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Netanyahu took office in December and handed key West Bank powers to extreme-right ministers.

Last year was the deadliest year in the territory since the United Nations started tracking casualties in 2005.

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