JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) -Israeli forces killed three Palestinians, including at least one militant, during a pre-dawn raid in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Palestinians said, as a months-long wave of violence continued.
The Israeli military said that soldiers had operated around the city of Jenin to arrest two Palestinian men suspected of involvement in “terrorist activity”.
During the arrest raid, it said soldiers were “targeted with direct fire and responded with live fire, hits were identified”.
The Islamic Jihad claimed one of the men killed as a member and his body was seen wrapped in the militant group’s flag at his funeral.
Residents told Reuters two of the dead men were known in the city as armed fighters, although they were apparently not the suspects the military had been seeking.
The third man was a civilian who was passing by at the time of the shooting, residents said.
Ghassan al-Saadi, who said he witnessed the incident, told Reuters he saw Israeli snipers shoot at cars ahead of him. He said Israeli forces also fired at ambulances when they arrived at the scene to remove two men who lay prone on the ground.
The Israeli military said it was not aware of such reports.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have deteriorated sharply this year, with Israeli forces staging repeated raids in the West Bank following a spate of deadly attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people in the spring.
Israel seized the West Bank in 1967 along with Gaza and East Jerusalem. All efforts to secure lasting peace and the creation of a Palestinian state on occupied territory have failed, with no prospects of negotiations resuming any time soon.
According to the Palestinian health ministry, more than 210 Palestinians have been killed this year. The tally includes militants and civilians, as well as deaths in Gaza during a brief conflict in August.
In the same period, Israeli authorities say 23 civilians and eight security personnel have been killed in Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank.