JERUSALEM – Israeli troops shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian militant as fighting erupted when soldiers entered a volatile town in the occupied West Bank early Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry and local media said.
The shooting, which Israel said came during a gunbattle with local militants, came at a time of intensified Israeli military activity in the northern West Bank town of Jenin in recent months.
The ministry identified the dead teen as Amjad al-Fayyed. It said another Palestinian — an 18-year-old — was in critical condition after being wounded by Israeli gunfire.
Later Saturday, the militant group Islamic Jihad said al-Fayyed was a member of its armed wing.
Local media reported that clashes erupted outside Jenin’s refugee camp when Israeli forces stormed the area.
In a statement, the army said that soldiers opened fire after gunmen shot at them from a passing vehicle. It said the suspects also threw explosives toward the soldiers.
Israel has stepped up its military activity in Jenin in recent weeks in response to a series of deadly attacks inside Israel. Several attackers were from the Jenin area, which is known as a stronghold of Palestinian militants.
On May 11, a veteran Palestinian journalist for the Al Jazeera satellite channel was killed while covering an Israeli military operation in the Jenin refugee camp. Shireen Abu Akleh’s family, the broadcaster, the Palestinian Authority and witnesses accused Israel of shooting the correspondent for the Qatari channel. Israel says there was a fierce gunbattle at the time, and it's not clear if she was killed by Israeli or Palestinian gunfire.
Israel has called for a joint forensics investigation. The Palestinians have refused, saying Israel cannot be trusted. They are carrying out their own investigation and say they will share their results with other countries, but not Israel.
Israeli military officials on Thursday said the military has identified a soldier’s rifle that may have killed Abu Akleh, but said it cannot be certain unless the Palestinians turn over the bullet for analysis.