By TIA GOLDENBERG Associated Press
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The Israeli army shot and killed two Palestinians during a raid in the occupied West Bank early Monday, Palestinian officials said.
The army alleged that the men tried to ram the soldiers with their car, a claim that could not be independently verified. Palestinians and human rights groups often accuse Israeli troops of using excessive force against Palestinians, who are living under a 55-year military occupation with no end in sight. Israel says it follows strict rules of engagement and opens fire in life-threatening situations.
The army said soldiers were trying to arrest a suspect in the Jalazone refugee camp near the city of Ramallah when the two Palestinians allegedly tried to run over the soldiers with their car. Soldiers opened fire on the car, the army said.
The Palestinian Civil Affairs Authority, which coordinates civil affairs with Israel, said the military shot and killed the two men. Their identities were not immediately known.
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Israel has been carrying out nightly arrests in the West Bank since the spring, when a series of Palestinian attacks on Israelis killed 19 people. Israel says its operations are aimed at dismantling militant infrastructure and preventing future attacks. The Palestinians see the nightly raids on their cities, towns and villages as a way for Israel to deepen its occupation of the lands they want for their longed-for state.
Israeli raids have killed some 100 Palestinians, making this year the deadliest since 2016. Israel says most of those killed were militants, but local youths protesting the raids, as well as some civilians, have also They died in the violence. Hundreds have been arrested, many of them placed in so-called administrative detention, which allows Israel to hold them without trial or charge.
The raids have heightened tensions in the West Bank, with an increase in shooting attacks by Palestinians against Israelis. They have also drawn attention to the growing disillusionment among Palestinian youth with the tight security coordination between Israel and the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority, which work together to stop militants.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war and 500,000 Jewish settlers now live in some 130 settlements and other outposts among nearly 3 Palestinians. The Palestinians want that territory, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, for their future state.
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