West Bank: Palestinian teenager killed in Israeli raid

A Palestinian teenager was killed in an Israeli military raid near Jericho in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday (April 10th) in a statement

West Bank: Palestinian teenager killed in Israeli raid

A Palestinian teenager was killed in an Israeli military raid near Jericho in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday (April 10th) in a statement. Another Palestinian was injured during the operation, according to the ministry.

The Israeli army had earlier announced in a brief statement that "security forces were carrying out an operation in Aqabat Jaber", a Palestinian refugee camp, located near the West Bank city, without details. The Palestinian ministry later announced the death of 15-year-old Mohamed Fayez Balhan, "killed by live ammunition from the occupation" after being shot in the head and chest, according to a statement.

This operation comes against the backdrop of an upsurge in violence in recent days in the Middle East, and the day after the funeral of two young Israelis killed in an attack on Friday in the Jericho area. The two sisters from the Israeli settlement of Efrat, aged 16 and 20 and of Israeli and British nationality, were victims of Palestinian fire at their vehicle.

A resurgence of violence

Following this attack, as well as a second car-ramming which occurred the same day in Tel Aviv - during which an Italian tourist was killed and seven other people injured - Israel announced on Saturday that it was preparing to mobilize additional security forces. The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas notably claimed that the Tel Aviv attack was a "natural and legitimate response" to the Israeli "aggression" on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

A few days earlier, on Wednesday, violence broke out on the esplanade of the Mosques, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism, also the epicenter of tensions in Jerusalem. Israeli forces brutally burst into the Al-Aqsa mosque to dislodge worshipers in the midst of Ramadan, prompting widespread condemnation, local and international.

Binyamin Netanyahu claimed that Israeli forces had been "forced to act to restore order" in the face of "extremists" barricaded in the mosque, while Hamas, which has fought several wars with Israel, denounced a "crime unprecedented ".

After the violence in Jerusalem, Israel carried out strikes targeting Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon, in response to the firing of dozens of rockets on its territory. The Israeli army claimed that the unclaimed shots were "Palestinian", and probably Hamas. On the Israeli-Lebanese front, this is an escalation of an intensity not seen since 2006.

These deadly attacks, rocket fire from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, followed by Israeli reprisals, tarnished the festive atmosphere marking the celebrations of Jewish Passover, Christian Easter and Ramadan.

A march organized to defend an unrecognized colony

On Monday, hundreds of Israelis are also taking part in a march towards Eviatar, a settlement not recognized by the Israeli authorities in the north of the West Bank, to demand its legalization, noted a journalist from Agence France-Presse ( AFP). Several ministers and deputies are expected, including the Minister of Public Security Itamar Ben Gvir. The latter, a supporter of the settler cause in the West Bank, said in a video released by his office that Israel "does not capitulate to terrorism, neither in Eviatar nor in Tel Aviv".

In 2021, several Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire in the village of Beita, neighboring Eviatar, during protests against the establishment of the settlement.

Since the beginning of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of at least 94 Palestinians, 18 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian, according to an AFP tally compiled from official Israeli and Palestinian sources. These figures include, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, including minors, and on the Israeli side, mostly civilians, including minors, and three members of the Arab minority.