JERUSALEM (AP) — Two Palestinian men were critically injured by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, the latest incident in a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
The Israeli military were conducting an arrest raid in the village of Yamun, west of Jenin in the northern West Bank, when dozens of Palestinians started throwing rocks and explosives at the troops, who returned fire.
“The soldiers responded with live ammunition toward the suspects who hurled explosive devices. Hits were identified,” the army said in a statement.
The two wounded men were hospitalized, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
The military said it arrested 11 Palestinians in raids across the West Bank overnight on Monday.
Israel has sent forces to search through Palestinian cities and villages in search of suspects or accomplices linked to two deadly attacks on Israelis in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a Palestinian gunman opened fire at a crowded Tel Aviv bar, killing three, and fled the scene. He was later killed in a shootout with police after an extensive manhunt.
That assault, as well as three other attacks elsewhere in Israel in recent weeks, have killed 14 people, the deadliest outburst of bloodshed against Israelis in years.
At least 25 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in recent weeks, according to an Associated Press count. Many had carried out attacks or were involved in the clashes, but an unarmed woman and a lawyer who appears to have been a bystander were also among those killed.
Jenin is considered a stronghold of Palestinian militants. Israeli forces often come under fire when operating in the area. Even the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the occupied West Bank and coordinates with Israel on security matters, appears to have little control.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future independent state.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have run high in recent days, during the confluence of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover.
Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli police at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site, known to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and to Jews as the Temple Mount. On Monday, Jordan, which serves as custodian of the site, summoned Israel’s charge d’affaires to protest Israel’s actions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in recent days, the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed.
Violence between Israeli security personnel and Palestinians at the shrine last year helped fuel the 11-day war between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.