Jerusalem, May 22 (EFE).- Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in armed clashes Monday during an operation in a refugee camp in the city of Nablus, one of the main points of tension in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the occupied West Bank, as the escalation of violence continued.
Israeli soldiers stormed into the Balata refugee camp in the morning, where they carried out an incursion that led to “shots and intense clashes” and resulted in the death of three Palestinians by Israeli fire, the Palestinian Health Ministry and the official Wafa news agency reported.
The deceased were aged 32, 30 and 24. Another six people were injured, and at least one of them is in serious condition, the ministry said in a statement.
Wafa and local press said Israeli forces entered the Balata camp – the most populous in the West Bank – with armored vehicles and bulldozers, deployed snipers on the roofs of some buildings and initially prevented ambulances and medical personnel from accessing the site to evacuate the wounded.
The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the incident as “a massacre” that is “a war crime” and “is a continuation of the comprehensive war” that Israel “was waging against the Palestinian people.”
Nablus, the historic nucleus of armed resistance and bastion of new local militias such as the Lions’ Den – which act independently of the traditional Palestinian factions – has been one of the sources of tension this past year with Israel. They made numerous incursions into the city resulting in deaths, the last one on May 15, in which another Palestinian also died.
Raids by Israeli forces in cities and towns in the West Bank have taken place almost daily for more than a year, amid a sharp rise in tension in the conflict that has also resulted in an increase in Palestinian attacks and aggressions perpetrated by Israeli settlers.
This has made 2023 the deadliest year in the conflict since the Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005.
So far this year, and including Monday’s deaths, 116 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and Israel, most of them militants in violent clashes with Israeli troops during raids on Palestinian towns, but also civilians, including 20 minors. On the Israeli side, 19 people have died in attacks committed by Palestinians, most of them settlers, including three minors.
Israel took control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967, and has since maintained an occupation and colonization of these territories that is one of the longest in recent history. EFE