RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian schoolteacher and a militant during a military raid in the occupied West Bank early Thursday, Palestinian officials and media said, as Israeli-Palestinian violence continued to surge.
The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the dead as Jawad Bawaqna, 57, and Adham Jabarin, 28. They were shot in the Jenin refugee camp in northern West Bank.
The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, said Bawaqna was a secondary school teacher and a father of six. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade — an armed militia affiliated with Fatah, the secular political party that controls the Palestinian Authority — claimed Jabarin as a fighter. The agency said Bawaqna was shot and killed as he was trying to offer Jabarin medical aid, after he had been shot outside his home.
The Israeli military said soldiers operating in the Jenin camp came under heavy fire and forces shot back. The military had no comment on the teacher’s death, saying only that “hits were identified,” meaning people were shot.
Palestinian media also reported that the Israeli forces arrested a local official of the militant group Islamic Jihad in Jenin.
Tensions have soared in the West Bank, where the Israeli military has been conducting near-nightly arrest raids since last spring after a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 19 people. Another 10 Israelis were killed in a second string of attacks later last year.
Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians see them as further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year occupation of lands they seek for their future state.
Thursday’s deaths put at 17 the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank since the beginning of 2023.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 2022, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, making it the deadliest year since 2004.
Israel says most of the dead were militants. But Palestinian stone-throwers, youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations also have been killed.